This past weekend, the CMS men’s tennis team played one of the most anticipated matches of the season against the Pomona-Pitzer “Hell Hens.” The duel took place at the Bizantz Family Tennis Center, for CMS’s first regular season night match of the season, and its inaugural at the new courts. The matchup proved to be an interesting one in both of the teams’ favorite match of the season. Clothed in “blackout” colors to match the time of day, the Stags came off an intense week of practice which had prepared them for the coming playoff season but still left them ready to fight their P-P counterparts with vigor.
The match began with the top three doubles points starting quickly with CMS taking the lead for all early on. Experimental new doubles pairs at the number one and number three spots were used and the top duo of Larry Wang CM ’09 and Mikey Lim CM ’10 were strong from the first point, leading the entire pro-set and finishing with a win 8-2.
At the number two spot, Ron Wu CM ’11 and Robbie Erani CM ’12 paced themselves in a routine win with animated play featuring solid footwork and intelligent strategy that produced an 8-2 result as well.
The third doubles match panned out differently as Gui Schils CM ’09, an experienced member of the top doubles position, was placed with Eric MacColl CM ’10 in their first competitive pairing. The Hens exercised excellent range in their defensive lobs and found a chance to steal an important point from the third-ranked Stags, bringing the match to a decisive tie-break at 8-8 in the pro set. Fortunate timing, excellent teamwork, and boisterous support by the large home crowd gave the upperclassmen duo from CMS a tight 8-6 victory in the tie-breaker, giving the Stags a 3-0 lead going into the singles competition.
It was a unique night, as Schils and Wang, the doubles National Champions from last spring were seperated to form the novel pairings. “It was definitely weird playing with a new partner, but I have played with other partners before, when Gui [Schils] was injured, but seeing him two courts down was the strangest part.”
After short breaks by the respective teams, singles went on to play with the sun set, the courts illuminated by the powerful lights and fierce rivalry.
With the singles underway, the Hens showed that they would not roll over easily by playing some of their most spirited matches of the season at the number two and four spots. Resolute wins were produced by Russell Brockett CM ’11 and Victor Chien CM ’12 at the number five and six spots, respectively, while at the number two spot Erani showed a drop from his seasonal form with a close loss to freshman Tommy Meyer PO ’12, who played an inspired game. Captain Wang and Lim improved their records on the day to 2-0 for the match at the number one and three singles positions. Another Pomona freshman, Uday Singh, played the number four position very close, beating Eric MacColl CM ’10 in a 10 point tie-break played when the two split sets after the match had already been decided in the Stag’s favor.
CMS Captain Wang said, “Our win showed the importance of doubles. We were able to take all three [doubles matches], and play more relaxed in singles.”
This win for the CMS men’s tennis assured yet another first seeding in the upcoming SCIAC tournament, to be held at Redlands this Friday. With a 22-4 record, the Stags have shown their resolve in many close matches and have exercised the type of consistent play necessary for strong results in the post season tournaments to come. The Stags will open with Cal Tech, led by Beaver captain Rico Chiu, while the No. 4 seed Hens will play the Poets from Whittier.