Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
WHITTIER, Calif. – The Whittier College men's tennis team made history Friday afternoon as they knocked off the Sagehens of No. 22 Pomona-Pitzer 8-1 on the Richard Ettinger Tennis Courts to improve to 6-5, 1-0 SCIAC.
The win this afternoon marks the first time the men's tennis team has ever beaten the Sagehens in a head to head match-up within SCIAC and it also marks the first time the Poets have beaten a Top 25 program.
The Poets who returned from Honolulu, Hi a couple days ago took to the practice courts yesterday afternoon in preparation for today's match-up. The Poets jump started the match sweeping doubles coming from behind at No. 1 and No. 3 to give the Purple & Gold a cushion going into singles play.
The No. 2 team of Andrew Hansen and Chris Schommer spearheaded the doubles sweep remaining rock solid holding serve throughout the match and grabbing a late break to win 8-5. This gave the Poets their first point on the afternoon. At No. 3 doubles, the sophomore duo of Matthew Herron and Shogo Shimizu saw themselves down 5-1 but rallied to win seven of the next eight games to secure the second point for the Purple & Gold.
It all came down to the No. 1 team of Julian Seneviratne and David Konstantinov who found themselves down a break at 6-3 to Frankie Allison and Max Sable. But the two gutted it out and wound up getting the break back and winning five games straight for the 8-6 win that sent the Poets to the doubles sweep giving them momentum into singles play.
In singles competition, the Poets continued to keep the pedal to the metal winning the first sets at No.1, No. 2, No. 3, and No. 4, while No. 5 and no. 5 singles forced three set tiebreakers.
Freshman Konstantinov continues to lead the Poets offensive attack in singles winning his sixth straight match with all six coming via straight sets. He completed his match winning 6-1, 6-2 over Sabel giving the Poets their fourth point on the afternoon.
Seneviratne, one of the Poet captains followed that performance at No. 1 with a dominating route of Wiechert in what was arguably his biggest win of his collegiate career. Wiechert came into the match nationally ranked No. 11 in singles and was a singles finalist in the fall ITA's but Seneviratne won in convincing fashion 6-4, 6-1 grabbing his second win over a national ranked opponent this season, while clinching the upset victory for the Poets.
Schommer found himself once again serving for the match on court three leading 5-2 in the second set after taking the first 7-5. But with two chances to clinch the match over a rival from the juniors in Connor Hudson, Schommer was broken twice and saw Hudson have a chance to pull out the second set after leading 6-5. But Schommer buckeled down and broke Hudson to even the match at 6-6 and from there it was all Schommer as he continued with his aggressive play and stellar net play to pull out the second set breaker 7-4.
Freshman Samuel Farmer played one of his biggest matches of the season despite dropping a first set breaker to Low 7-6(4), he bounced back in the second to win 6-2 before using big serving and penetrating groundstrokes to pull out the 10-8 super tiebreaker. This kept the Sagehens scoreless with one match left playing on court six. Senior Frank Sun who was getting his first start in the singles lineup dropped a quick 6-0 first set and then found himself down 4-0 in the second before he mounted his comeback winning six straight games to take the second set 6-4 but his comeback fell short in the super tiebreaker when Kevin Wei pulled out the 10-4 win in the third.
" This was the big conference win this program needed," said Bojalad, "Hopefully, it will give us the confidence to play our best tennis from here forward. We will need every bit of it against Middlebury tomorrow."
The Poets schedule doesn't get any easier as they welcome in Middlebury who comes in ranked in the Top 15 in the country. Doubles commences tomorrow, March 23 at 11:00am on the Richard Ettinger Tennis Courts immediately followed by singles.
1: Seneviratne /Konstantinov (WC) def. Allinson/Sabel (PP) – 8-6
2: Hansen/Schommer (WC) def. Wei/Weichert (PP) – 8-5
3: Shimizu/Herron (WC) def. Hudson/Sutton (PP) – 8-6
1: Seneviratne (WC) def. Wiechert (PP) – 6-4, 6-1
2: Konstantinov (WC) def. Sabel (PP) – 6-1, 6-2
3: Schommer (WC) def. Hudson (PP) – 7-5, 7-6 (4)
4: Herron (WC) def. Allison (PP) – 6-1, 7-5
5: Farmer (WC) def. Low (PP) – 6-7 (4), 6-2, 10-8
6: Wei (PP) def. Sun (WC) – 6-0, 4-6, 10-4