CLAREMONT, Calif. – Senior Julian Seneviratne and freshman David Konstantinov led the Poets men's tennis team to an impressive finish in the USTA/ITA West Regional this past weekend as they knocked off the No. 1 seed in doubles earing second place recognition.
On a weekend with grueling conditions including temperatures being in the 100's and players having to play two singles and two doubles matches on Friday and Saturday, the Purple & Gold were still able to pull out one of the best performances int he ITA's as a team.
Seneviratne and Konstantinov entered the ITA doubles seeded No. 6 but found themselves in tough competition after the first round beating Thomas Millet/Marcelo Sousa (Cal Lutheran) 8-6 in the Round of 16 and then beating Andrew Halabi/Sam Ridgers (UC Santa Cruz) 8-6 in the quarterfinals. In the semi-finals they matched up against the No. 1 seed and nationally ranked (No. 19) team in Frankie Allinson/Max Sabel (Pomona-Pitzer) and prevailed in the upset victory 8-5 before falling in the finals 6-4, 6-3 to the No. 2 seed of Joe Dorn and Warren Wood (Claremont-M-S).
Dorn was previously at Vanderbilt and played No. 4 for the nationally ranked Commodores before transferring to Claremont-M-S.
"The doubles final was a very big result for us," says Coach Bojalad, "We had some big wins along the way proving we can play with anyone. Hopefully, this will inspire the other guys on the team and lift their level."
Sophomores Matthew Herron and Shogo Shimizu also competed in doubles and won their opening round 8-5 over Thomas Low/Kevin Wei (Pomona-Pitzer) before falling in a tight 9-7 matchup in the Round of 16 to Skyler Butts/Lestter Yeh (Claremont-M-S) who had upset the No. 8 seed in the round prior.
In singles Whittier saw seven players earn berths including newcomers Konstantinov who garnered the No. 9 seed, Sam Farmer, and Bo Brynteson. They joined fellow Poets Seneviratne, Chris Schommer, Shimizu, and Herron.
Farmer found himself in his first action as a Poet in the first round against Frankie Allinson (Pomona-Pitzer) and dropped a very competitive match 6-4, 6-3.
Brynteson, also found himself against a tough opponent in the first round falling in straight sets to the No. 4 seed in Chris Wiechert dropping a 6-2, 6-4 decision.
Schommer who earned the No. 9 seed strung together three fantastic rounds including an upset win over the No. 6 seed Nicolas Cummins (Redlands) 6-4, 6-3 before falling in the quarterfinals to eventual ITA singles Champion Neel Kotrappa (Claremont-M-S) 6-3, 6-3. Prior to these two rounds Schommer had defeated Andre Herd (Chapman) 6-0, 6-2 and Michael Saria (UC Santa Cruz) 6-2, 6-1.
Seneviratne came into singles seeded No. 5 with a great opportunity to make a deep run and he did just that winning two rounds against Connor Sutton (Pomona-Pitzer) 6-0, 6-3 and Jacob Lousche (Redlands) 6-3, 6-2 before falling in the Round of 16 to No. 9 seed Connor Hudson (Pomona-Pitzer) in three sets 5-7, 7-5, 6-3.
Konstantinov who came in seeded No. 9, the last of three singles players seeded won his first round match 6-2, 6-0 over Garrett Deguchi (UC Santa Cruz) before falling in the Round of 32 to Kotrappa who was the eventual singles champion.
Rounding out the rest of the singles players included Shimizu who fell in straight sets to Millet (Cal Lutheran) 6-4, 6-1 and Herron who dropped a tight 6-4, 6-3 match to No. 9 seed Nikolas Marino (Claremont-M-S).
In the consolation bracket in singles Herron withdrew in his first match to John Brewer (Redlands) due to illness after winning the first set 6-4, while Brynteson won his first round over Nick Jacobs (Cal Lutheran) 6-2, 6-3 before pulling out in the Round of 16 against Brewer due to an injury. Farmer took on Chapman's Brett Buford in the first round and dropped a 6-2, 7-5 match-up.
Shimizu put together two strong matches in the backdraw beating Deguchi (UC Santa Cruz) 6-2, 6-3 before dropping a three set decision to Bryan Mehall (Claremont-M-S) 6-3, 5-7, 7-10.
Konstantinov performed nicely in the backdraw making it to the semi-finals where he had to withdraw due to a thumb injury.