Pomona-Pitzer men’s tennis (1-0, 1-0 SCIAC) is poised to go further than they ever have before this season. Picking up from their winning season last year, in which they put up an impressive 26-7 record, they seek to maintain their dominance in the 2016 SCIAC conference. After sweeping Occidental College (0-2, 0-1 SCIAC) this past Saturday to kick off their season, the Sagehens are looking like the team to beat this season.
All doubles teams for P-P won at the minimum eight games in their rout of Occidental, as each duo cruised to comfortable victories this past Saturday. Antony Bello PO '17 and Kalyan Chadalavada PO '18 won their set by a decisive score of 8-5, Spencer Simonides PO ’17 and Marko Mandic PO ’18 took down the Tigers 8-2, and Jake Yasgoor PZ ’17, paired with Josh Gearou PO ’19 dominated their set 8-0, to give Pomona-Pitzer the clean sweep of Occidental’s doubles competitors that day.
But it didn't stop there. That was only how the day started, and the ending was even more impressive as Graham Maassen PZ ’17, Bello, Josh Gearou, Chadalavada, Sam Gearou PO ’19, and Spencer Chiu PO ’19 would all go on to win their singles matches by six games. Their dominance was too much for the Tigers, as they limited them to only two games per set in the singles contest.
To be straightforward, the guys on this roster possess a great cohesion in their style of play in doubles matches; they play as well on together as they do in their individual matches. This team is incredibly well-rounded: Each member of the squad has strengths that make up for the others’ weaknesses on the court. Which is exactly what is needed in a SCIAC conference, where their opponents specialize in winning either doubles or singles match. The depth, versatility, and joint efforts displayed by the Sagehens will give them a unique identity moving forward in what they hope will be an improvement from last year’s winning season.
Besides a few mental errors and some rust on opening day, this team made a bold statement by starting out the season strongly. Individually, there is little doubt that any of these guys will decline from the form that they displayed this past Saturday, Jan. 30. What will be the real challenge is how long the doubles will continue to play this well. While they played excellently this past weekend, their teamwork must improve in order to be maintained throughout the season. Relying on yourself on the tennis court is much easier than having to play your best week in and week out alongside another person. So long as P-P can keep up their cohesion on the court, their doubles squads will continue to play at a very high level.
This season should be another successful outing for the P-P program, but I believe they will achieve greater heights than they did last year. The future looks very bright for this young team as they seek to continue their classic Sagehen dominance in the conference. Their next match is against Azusa Pacific University on Saturday, Feb. 6, at 3 p.m.