ASST. SPORTS EDITOR
Men’s Tennis have had a strong season so far, with an overall record of 6 – 8 and a conference record of 1 – 1. The team endured some challenges over the season, as they have competed against 6 of the top 50 teams in the country and lost 5 of the 6 games. One of these games was against No. 12 Pomona-Pitzer, who play in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC). The Poets lost eight matches out of nine as they started off their 2019 season slow. They would lose their next matchup, an exhibition, against Concordia University, losing matches out of nine against the Eagles.
The Poets would finally find success in against No. 31 University of California (UC) Santa Cruz when they gave the Banana Slugs the first upset in Whittier College program history. This has been one of the four times these two programs have played with each other as the other three times going in favor to UC Santa Cruz. The Poets fell behind early as they lost 2 – 1 in doubles then fighting back in singles, winning four of the six matches. The matchup came down to the wire as the Poets and the Banana Slugs were tied to the final match where second-year Derek Okuhama faced UC Santa Cruz’s Ryan Gee. The first set was hard fought by Okuhama, who saw the victory 6 – 4, but lost the second set to Gee on a score of 7 – 5. It came down to the final set, where Okuhama battled a great set when he won in a lopsided frame on a score of 6 – 1 giving the Poets the victory against the Banana Slugs.
The Poets would then move on, losing four straight matchups losing to No. 34 Christopher Newport University and No. 19 Mary Washington. However, the Poets were able to turn around the season when they picked up some wins against tough competitors.
The Poets currently have a two matchup win streak beating Linfield University and SCIAC rivals Chapman University. The Poets dominated the SCIAC matchup as they won 7 – 1 giving the Poets a 1 – 1 record in SCIAC play. The Poets also have an overall record of 6 – 8, with a home record of 6 – 5 and an away record of 0 – 1.
Men’s Tennis has five more matchups before the end of the season; each of these matchups against a SCIAC team. The Poets first matchup will be away as they face the Claremont Mudd Scripps in their second SCIAC matchup on April 6. The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps currently holds an overall 17 – 1 record, making this a very tough opponent for the Poets. The Poets’ next home matchup is April 15, when they host the visiting Occidental Tigers. The Tigers currently hold a similar record as the Poets, but that could change in their upcoming matchups before they face the Poets. This could prove to be an exciting one as the season comes down to the wire.