Sagehens Travel to Ojai for Final Regular Season Tourney

After wrapping up their rigorous
regular season and conference matches, the Pomona-Pitzer men’s (23-5, 5-2 SCIAC) and
women’s (12-5, 7-1 SCIAC) tennis teams headed to the Ojai
Tournament April 23-26 for a weekend of tennis, sun and fresh orange juice. Although neither team ended up with a trophy,
both were pleased with their efforts and their current position to
succeed in the SCIAC tournament and beyond.

Upon finishing their final
conference matches April 11, both groups of Hens had almost two weeks off
before the final stretch of their season. This meant resting their beaten-down
bodies and preparing mentally to finish the season at their best.

“We had a really brutal regular
season schedule, so a lot of the guys tried to recover physically,” Connor
Sutton PO ’15 said. “The rest of the team focused on playing a lot of practice
matches.”

The women’s team used similar tactics
to recuperate physically and mentally. In the mean time, they also set goals
for the more individual-oriented Ojai Tournament.

“Our team goal and individual goals
were to compete with as much heart as we could,” Maryann Zhao PO ’18 said. “Every match we wanted to put it
all out on the court and make our opponents earn every point they won.” 

Started in 1896, the Ojai
Tournament is unlike other matches on the P-P schedule because it is not a team
match. Instead of competing for a higher team score than the opposing team, the
Ojai Tournament is set up with brackets of singles and doubles for individual competition. Nonetheless, the whole teams went to cheer on their fellow
Hens. 

For the men, the tournament started
on Friday in Ojai, a small town located about 100 miles northwest of Claremont.
One of the first to play was Sutton, who won his first match in the independent
bracket to advance to the round of 16, but he eventually lost to the No. 3 player from San Diego Christian College. Blake Myrin PZ ’18 also advanced to the round
of 16, where he fell to the seventh-ranked player.

In the Division III bracket,
Jonathan Kim PZ ’16 advanced to the round of 16 after easily defeating his
previous opponent. However, he fell in two sets to the No. 1 and
ultimate winner Warren Wood CM ’15. Spencer Simonides PO ’17 and Graham Maassen
PZ ’17 also made it to the round of 16 in singles before falling to higher-ranked opponents.

As for doubles, Kalyan Chadalavada
PO ’18 and Kevin Wei PO ’15 made it to the round of 16 before falling to a team
comprised of Skyler Butts CM ’16 and Daniel Morkovine CM ’17. Kim and Maassen
made it to the semifinals before ultimately dropping to the same team, who went
on to win the tournament.

“Overall we had some decent
results,” Sutton said. “We had some people sitting out this weekend, and I
think the guys who got thrown into the mix did a good job representing P-P
tennis.”

The
women began their play a day earlier, with Zhao, Emily Chen PO ’18 and Grace
Hruska PZ ’18  starting their matches at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday. Hruska made it to the round of 32 while both
Zhao and Chen lost in the round of 16. Emily Kuo PO ’18 and Shivani Doraiswami
PO ’18 also kept the first-year success alive by playing until the round of 16.

The doubles teams, which consisted
of Maddie Gordon PO ’17 and Zhao, as well as Chen and Doraiswami, made it to the
round of 16 where they fell to the No. 1 and No. 3 teams.

“While it would always be nice to
have one of us win the tournament, I would say we were happy with our results,”
Zhao said. “There’s always room for improvement, but overall it was a great
first Ojai for all of us.”

Beyond cheering on their teammates,
both teams were also thrilled to watch some of the nation’s top players compete
in the PAC-12 tournament, adding extra excitement to a successful weekend.

Looking ahead, the two P-P teams
have little respite as the SCIAC tournament begins this weekend with both teams
opening against Whittier College. Still, the Hens have a plan to succeed.

“Being both well-rested and match-tough is going to be key,” Sutton said. “If we can come into the tournament
with a full line-up of rested, yet practiced guys, I feel really good about our
chances.”

The women have similar plans.

“Our team goal is to win SCIACs and
qualify for nationals,” Zhao said. “Individually, I just hope to win all my
matches to help us get there.”

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