The Pomona-Pitzer men’s tennis team steamrolled Caltech but lost to crosstreet rival CMS this past week. The results leave the Sagehens with an 11-9 record and an eleventh-overall national ranking.
The Sagehens rested their top players against Caltech in preparation for their match against CMS later in the day, but the tennis team’s depth was on display as the second string dominated Caltech. Connor Hudson PO ’15 and Kevin Wei PO ’15 had the tightest match of the day in the number one doubles slot but pulled away to take an 8-5 win. Singles were more of the same as all six Sagehens won in straight sets, losing eight games across the six matches. Chris Walters PO ’15 turned in an especially outstanding performance, losing only four points en route to a double bagel.
Before the CMS match, Coach Ben Belletto had stressed the importance of getting off to a good start in doubles play. The Sagehens did just that in front of a raucous crowd at CMC’s Biszantz Family Tennis Center, winning two doubles matches to take the lead going into singles play.
“They’re a good tennis team,” Belletto said. “We had to get out a good start in doubles, and we did, so I was really thrilled with that. The crowd was unbelievable, which was really cool.”
However, CMS gathered themselves and came out hot, taking the first set in five of the six singles matches. Once the Sagehens were behind, they were unable to come back all the way. The second sets of singles matches were closer, but CMS took five straight set victories and took Chris Wiechert PZ ’14 to a third set, where he lost, 6-1.
“Unfortunately, we only had a couple opportunities in singles,” Belletto said. “To their credit, CMS came out really ready to play in singles. We had opportunities in each match where we could have maybe turned the tide a little bit, but again, in that situation, the momentum had already swung back to them.”
The Sagehens are back in action this Sunday when they travel to Redlands to play the 14th-ranked Bulldogs.
“Redlands is our final match before our conference tournament,” Belletto said. “We’re playing for seeding in the tournament. If we win we get the three-seed, and if we lose we get the four-seed.”
The following weekend, they will head to the Ojai Tennis Tournament.
“It’s a big, big tournament,” Belletto said. “It’s one of the oldest tournaments in the country. It’s a junior tournament, an open tournament, the PAC-12 tournament and a DIII tournament as well. Our region, the west region, is the only region that gets this opportunity, so it’s kind of a unique thing for us. We enter our roster into a committee, and they select the best 64, so we have eight singles and three doubles teams.”
For the Sagehens, the ultimate goal is still the NCAA tournament. Strong performances in the next few weeks should have them in good position to end the year on a high note.