Battling the Storm
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After a week off from playing, the men’s tennis team had three straight matches last week, two of which were scrimmages. Their first scrimmage saw the Cerritos Community College travel up to Westmont on Thursday. The Falcons are a tricky team and recognized as having one of the top community college tennis programs in California. The Warriors were also without Luke Whalen for the whole match, and Christian Mathis for the singles portion, so the team had to step it up a level to compete. Since this was a scrimmage, this match was considered a “non-counting” match, but some quality tennis was played all-around.
The next day the Warriors hit the road to play Irvine Valley College, their second straight scrimmage of the week. This too was a “non-counting” match, but this time Mathis and Whalen would be in the lineup. IVC is also regarded as a top community college tennis program in California so the Warriors would be in for another battle. However, the real match and challenge would come the following day when they took on Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.
Still on the road, the men would encounter only their second “counting” match of the season so far and were pitted up against the number two ranked NCAA Division III tennis program in Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. The Warriors began the match with Whalen and Mathis at number one doubles, followed by JT Joens and Miles Hale at number two, and Jordan Strandness and Corey Stephens at number three.
Doubles one and two both got off to slow starts and were never really able to make any strides as they lost 8-4 and 8-2 respectively. For doubles number three, Stephens and Strandness came up with an impressive 8-4 victory. “Jordan and Corey have excellent chemistry and energy together,” said Westmont Head Coach Mark Basham about their win, “They have been returning serve well in every match.”
Going into the singles matches, Westmont was only down 2-1 and hoped to get off to a better start. Unfortunately, the Warriors were swept in singles. Whalen was down 3-6, 0-4 before retiring from the match. Mathis lost at number two singles 4-6, 2-6; Joens at number three singles lost 3-6, 0-6. At number four singles, Hale lost 2-6, 2-6; at five singles, Strandness lost 3-6, 4-6; and Austin Lee lost 4-6, 1-6.
Basham was pleased at times with what he saw from the team, but sees that a lot of improvement is needed. “Our team has to get better in every facet of the game,” Basham stated after the match. “Shot selection to stroke execution to overall consistency and mental toughness.”
So far, the men’s team is 0-2 this season, but both losses were against a highly ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team and a NCAA Division I UC Riverside team. The Warriors will play three matches in two days in Phoenix, Arizona this Friday and Saturday, starting with Friday’s matchup against Our Lady of the Lake (Texas). Westmont opens up GSAC play against Arizona Christian Saturday morning before finishing off the road trip against Ottawa University Saturday afternoon.