Stags Outpace Sagehens, Continue SCIAC Tear

The Pomona-Pitzer and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men’s tennis teams faced off at CMS on Saturday, April 5. The Stags, currently ranked No. 1 in NCAA Division III, prevailed 8-1, but it was not just a walk in the park for the top team.

CMS (20-1, 6-0 SCIAC) entered the match after sweeping California Lutheran University (3-1, 4-8 SCIAC) on Friday, April 4. 

On Friday, the Stags saw outstanding doubles play by the No. 3 team of Nik Marino CM '15 and Zhenya Pereverzin CM '14, who won 8-1, and by the No. 2 team of Neel Kotrappa CM '14 and Skyler Butts CM ’16, who swept their opponents. At No. 1 doubles, Joe Dorn CM '15 and Warren Wood CM '15 extended their winning streak by defeating Cal Lutheran's combination of Alex Nichols and Connor Treacy, ranked No. 3 in the West Region, 8-3.

In singles, Pereverzin, Marino, Butts, and Dorn all defeated their opponents in two sets. After a 6-3 loss in the first set, Wood came back to win the second set and then won the tiebreaker to finish off Moises Cardenas, ranked No. 5 in the West Region. Completing the sweep for the Stags was Daniel Morkovine CM ’17, who fought back after losing the second set 2-6 to hold his opponent to just one point in the third.

Head coach Paul Settles continues to credit his team’s record to strong leadership from the upperclassmen and the rising potential of the younger players. 

The Sagehens (11-6, 3-1 SCIAC) came into Saturday’s match fresh off of a 6-3 win over the University of Redlands (7-11, 1-3 SCIAC) on Friday.

P-P began that match with two big wins in doubles. Connor Hudson PO ’15 and Graham Maassen PZ ’17 won 8-5 at No. 3, and Chris Wiechert PZ '14 and Anthony Bello PO '17 followed with an 8-3 victory at No.1. Jonathan Kim PZ '16 and Sam Crawford PO ’16 took a 4-8 loss at No. 2 before P-P entered singles play.

Jake Yasgoor PZ '17, Kim, Hudson, and Josh Kim PO '17 walked away with decisive two-set wins, but both Maassen and Wiechert lost their matches—1-6, 3-6 and 2-6, 3-6, respectively. Wiechert fell to the Bulldogs' Patrick Lipscomb, who was ranked third overall in the West Region.

Although some of P-P’s top players lost a few matches, head coach Steve Bickham was pleased with the improvement he saw from his team as a whole.

“I was happy with the way everyone came out and played,” Bickham said. “Our No. 5 and 6 guys have really stepped up and played some good tennis. They both came through well for that match.”

The Saturday match between the Sagehens and Stags began with an 8-2 doubles win from Marino and Pereverzin over Maassen and Hudson at No. 3 doubles. Next, Wiechert and Bello gave P-P a spark with their 8-6 defeat over Dorn and Wood at No. 1. Jonathan Kim and Crawford had their chance to put P-P ahead going into singles, but Kotrappa and Butts won the tiebreaker to cling on to their 9-8 victory.

“We’ve had a pretty good record in tiebreakers,” Butts said. “The biggest thing for us is holding serve. We have got to be very strategic with how we set up points.”

Already with a 2-1 lead, CMS moved on to dominate in singles by not losing a single set. In his second match back, Marino beat Hudson at No. 3 to start the Stag rally. Butts followed with a win over Maassen at No. 4, and Wood defeated Wiechert at No. 1. After wins by Pereverzin against Josh Kim and Morkovine over Jonathan Kim, Dorn finished the match by keeping Yasgoor to one point in the second set after having to win a tiebreak in the first.

Both sides were glad to see some good competition in the match. Even though CMS continues to shut out most of its opponents, the Stags focus on their individual performances rather than the final results.

“We have been beating good teams badly,” Settles said. “The focus always has to be on how we continue to get better and stay motivated. I think our guys are doing a terrific job of that. Each match, I see some real improvement.”

P-P coach Bickham likes to see his team, ranked No. 13 nationally, step up to compete with the best teams.

“We know we’re a top team in the nation, and keeping up with these top teams in the nation motivates us to take it to the next level,” Jonathan Kim said.

CMS will host both Occidental College (3-13, 1-4 SCIAC) and Point Loma Nazarene University (5-12) on Saturday, April 12 at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. P-P will host Cal Lutheran and Occidental, also at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday.