Sagehens Earn League Wins, Rise in Rankings

Pomona-Pitzer’s men’s tennis team went 2-0 in their matches on Friday, March 28 and Saturday, March 29 at Pauley Tennis Complex. The No. 13 Sagehens took down perennial powerhouse University of California, Santa Cruz—No. 19 overall heading into the match—on Friday 8-1. P-P kept its momentum going into the next game, defeating conference opponent California Institute of Technology 7-2 the following afternoon. With both wins, the Sagehens (10-5, 2-0 SCIAC) are now third in the regional rankings.

P-P started out strong against the Banana Slugs, going 2-1 in team doubles. After losing only their second doubles match of the season last Tuesday, March 25 against Williams, Jonathan Kim PZ ’16 and Sam Crawford PO ’16 bounced back to win their doubles match 8-5. Connor Hudson PO ’15 and Graham Maassen PZ ’17 cruised to an 8-3 victory at No. 3 to give the Sagehens the advantage going into the singles matches.

P-P then swept all five of its singles matches to come out on top 8-1. Chris Wiechert PZ ’14 won the first singles point 6-0, 6-3 at No. 1. Jake Yasgoor PZ ’17 also had a victory in his singles match at No. 2, winning 6-1, 6-4 in straight sets. After winning their doubles match, Hudson and Maassen both won their singles matches. Hudson won his match in straight sets, 6-4, 6-1. Maassen had a dramatic victory as he came back from being down 8-5 in a third-set tiebreaker, and won five straight match points for a 10-8 victory in the final set. Josh Kim PO ’17 also won his match in a third-set tiebreaker by a final decision of 11-9 in the last set. Jonathan Kim had the clinching victory with a 6-1, 6-1 win at No. 5 singles.

Wiechert said that taking the lead in doubles was key in sweeping the singles matches.

“Taking a doubles lead has not always been easy for us this year, and I think that by going up 2-1 in doubles it gave us a lot of confidence heading into our singles matches,” he said. “This was a big factor in us sweeping the singles matches against Santa Cruz.”

After that impressive singles sweep against UCSC, the Sagehens complemented their performance by sweeping their doubles matches on Saturday against Caltech. Maassen and Hudson won their second doubles match in a row 8-4, this time in the No. 2 slot. Connor Sutton PO ’15 and Yasgoor won 8-3 in their doubles match. And in what proved to be a back-and-forth battle, Jonathan Kim and Crawford won their No. 1 doubles match by a final decision of 9-7.

In the singles matches, P-P collected four big wins from first-years to clinch the overall victory over Caltech. Yasgoor took control in his match early on and never looked back, winning in straight sets 6-1, 6-3. Maassen finished his strong weekend with a 6-2, 6-4 victory, giving him two doubles match victories and two singles match victories on the weekend. Anthony Bello PO ’17 won in a three-set decision. He went down 5-7 in the first set, but came back in the second set to win 7-6 (7-4). Bello won the final set 10-2, giving him the victory. Spencer Simonides PO ’17 won 6-1, 6-1 in his singles match to complete the first-year sweep.

The Sagehens felt good about gaining momentum from the win over Caltech.

“It is always nice to get a very comfortable win in conference like we did with Caltech to take the momentum with us into the rest of our conference play,” Simonides said.

P-P will have its next match today, April 4, when it hosts No. 15 Redlands University at 2 p.m. at Pauley Tennis Complex in a crucial SCIAC match. P-P then takes on Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, currently ranked first in the nation, in the Sixth Street rivalry game at Biszantz Family Tennis Center tomorrow at 5 p.m.

Coming off the two wins, the Sagehens feel ready for the upcoming league matches.

“We should have everyone healthy against Redlands and CMS, which is good,” Wiechert said. “We understand that these are both big matches, but we have a pretty loose team and now 15 matches under our belts, so I don’t think that nerves will play too much of a factor.”

Simonides added that his team is feeling more confident and starting to hit full swing. 

“I think the combination of all the really good matches we are having with other highly ranked teams and the hard work we have been putting in in practices, we are starting to hit our stride,” he said.

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