CLAREMONT, Calif. - At the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Championships over the weekend, the Whittier College men's tennis team claimed a fourth place finish edging No. 5 Caltech 5-4 before falling to No. 1 Claremont-M-S (5-0) and then No. 3 Redlands (7-2).
Match 1 (No. 5 Caltech – W, 5-4)
The Poets were provided a scare by the Beavers of the California Institute of Technology over the weekend opening up the SCIAC Championships. Whittier was coming off a 6-3 victory over the Beavers in the regular season a week earlier but struggled in the first round on the Richard Ettinger Tennis Courts.
The Whittier No. 1 doubles team of Samuel Farmer (Carlsbad, Calif.) and Andrew You (Arcadia, Calif.) pulled off again another win at the top spot beating Rushikesh Joshi and Sathwick Pathireddy handily 8-3.
The No. 2 team of Troy Chavez (Temecula, Calif.) and Tyler Linscott (Tuscon, AZ) held an early break over Ruthwick Pathireddy and Derik Nguyen at No. 2 but saw the lead slip away as the Beaver duo pulled off a late break to win 9-7 leveling the match at 1-1.
In the final doubles match-up, Sean Jardinico (Happy Valley, NY) and david Stanko (Morena Valley, Calif.) fell upon the same fate against Morgan Lebby and Zixiano Li. Due to a point penalty being awarded during the rain delay following the No. 2 doubles match-up, Jardinico and Stanko were put in a hole with the point affecting their match.
Lebby and Li were able to overcome Whittier taking two of the first three points holding serve before breaking the Poets to give CIT a big 2-1 advantage heading into singles.
Singles play commenced as the final doubles match came off in order to beat the weather, but only two matches were able to complete a set before the rain returned postponing the match to the following morning.
With fourth place on the line you could feel the tension as Whittier had their back against the wall falling behind 3-1 due to Jardinico defaulting at No. 3. You kept the Purple & Gold in the match with a convincing 6-0, 6-0 win at No. 1 that made it 3-2 but freshman Emilio Yera (Berverly Hills, Calif.) would get taken out at No. 6 6-2, 6-4 that gave CIT a 4-2 advantage, one match away from the upset.
But WC didn't go away quietly and battled with Stanko winning at No. 4 6-3, 6-4 over Nguyen right before Linscott edged S. Pathireddy 6-4, 6-3 at No. 5 that leveled the match at 4-4.
It all came down to Farmer at No. 2 who dropped the first set 7-5 to Liu but came back to pick up a break in each of the final two sets to clinch the victory for Whittier 6-3, 6-3.
Match 2 (No. 1 Claremont-M-S – L, 5-0)
Right after the big win, the Poets had a tough match-up with the top seeded Stags. The Poets were dismissed quickly at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles but had an opportunity at the top spot from Farmer and You to get on the scoreboard. They made some noise against Skyler Butts and Daniel Morkovine forcing them to get a break late as they would pull off the 9-7 win to complete the doubles sweep.
The match was played to decision and CMS would pick up victories at No. 3 and No. 5. Stanko fell 6-0, 6-1 to Morkovine and Year was shutout at No. 5 by Patrick Wildman 6-0, 6-0.
Match 3 (No. 3 Redlands – L, 7-2)
On the final day of the Championships, the Poets put together a strong performance on Mother's Day taking on the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs came in Nationally Ranked No. 15 and the Poets gave them all they could handle early. Stanko and Yera fell quickly at No. 3 giving UR a 1-0 lead. Linscott and Chavez put WC on the scoreboard with an 8-6 win at No. 2 over Chase Lipscomb and Bryant Johnson and at No. 1, Farmer and You couldn't convert the opportunities late as they fell 8-6 to Joey Dulle and Jake Ly.
Farmer got rid of Dulle quickly in convincing fashion 6-1, 6-0 at No. 2 but that would be the final point gained by the Purple & Gold as UR would rally for the next five singles wins.
Stanko forced the issue at No. 3 against Ly falling in three sets. Ly edged him in the first set in a breaker 7-6 (2) but Stanko would come back to win 6-4 in the second but couldn't grab the ten point tiebreaker falling 11-9.
Chavez had a similar result at No. 6 against Cooper Lacatera. Lacatera edge the junior 7-6 (6) in the first set and would steal a late break in the second 6-3.
Whittier wraps up their 2016 season 8-12, 4-6 SCIAC and finish fourth in the SCIAC Standings.