Sagehens Continue to Defend the Coop in Weekend Wins

Going into last
weekend’s matches, both Sagehen tennis teams had a lot to prove. The No. 8
Pomona-Pitzer women’s tennis team (4-1, 3-0 SCIAC) was fresh off two SCIAC
shutouts while the No. 15 P-P men’s team (8-2, 3-0 SCIAC) looked to return to its winning ways.

The Sagehen men
went into their March 8 match  against No. 11 Carnegie Mellon University with a chip on
their shoulders and a chance to knock off the higher-ranked Tartans. Thanks to
a late three-set win by Marko Mandic PO ’18, the Hens were able to pull off the
statement victory.

“Getting the win
over Carnegie Mellon has meant a lot for our team,” Spencer Simonides PO ’17
said. “A lot of other teams were looking at us and starting to think we had gone
soft after our loss to Bates, but taking down Carnegie Mellon was a great
statement for us to the rest of the DIII tennis community.”

In the afternoon
match, the P-P men shut out Hardin-Simmons University 9-0.

The women’s team looked to pick up its third straight conference win to open up
the season. With the help of three singles victories by first-years Shivani
Doraiswami PO ’18, Emily Chen PO ’18 and Emily Kuo PO ’18, the Hens achieved
an easy 7-2 win over their SCIAC foe, the University of Redlands.

“It felt great
to start off with three solid wins, especially with so many newcomers to the
team,” Doraiswami said. “Even though the matches weren’t particularly tough,
it was the first slice of college tennis for the freshmen. Starting
off strong has given us a lot of confidence for upcoming matches.”

Despite a 7-2
loss to No. 2 Emory University March 9, the Sagehen women were able to answer
the following night with a big 8-1 win over Trinity University (Texas). Lea Lynn
Yen PO ’16 won her singles match and paired up with Grace Hruska PZ ’18 to win
doubles as well.

“Emory was a
tough loss,” Doraiswami said. “We knew they were going to be challenging
opponents since they were last year’s National League Champions. Knowing
that we were so close motivated us to keep fighting. Any match that comes our
way can be won if we work hard, [and] there is no unstoppable team. That’s the
attitude we took to Trinity.”

In the men’s
final match of the week against Bowdoin College March 11, the Sagehens found themselves
on top 3-0 after sweeping doubles. However, Bowdoin fought back in singles and tied it up at 4-4. At No. 1 singles, Connor Hudson PO ’15 came back from a set
down to win the decisive match 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 and give the Hens the win.

Even with strong
individual performances like Hudson’s, the Sagehen men’s team attributes their
recent hot streak to the entire team.

“The energy we
have been bringing in our last five matches has been critical to our success,”
Simonides said. “We are all pushing ourselves to fight harder and dig deeper
when we are playing, and that is how we are winning matches. No one is out there
alone, we are all supporting each other whether on the court playing or off the
court watching.”

The women head into spring break with a string of matches versus NESCAC schools. To say the
team is looking forward to their matches is an understatement.

“Our team is
pumped,” Dorasiswami said. “I mean, it’s the dream, right? No classes, staying in
SoCal, playing tennis in such amazing weather … It’s such a blessing to get
to play for these schools. After getting a nice breather this weekend,
PPWT will be ready to bring it in these upcoming consecutive matches.” 

The P-P men’s
team co-hosts the Stag-Hen Invitational March 13 and 14, where they will first face
off against Case Western Reserve University. The Hens have high expectations
for their spring break tourney. 

“We are going to
prove we want to win more than anyone else,” Simonides said. “We are going to
defend the coop.”

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