Men’s and women’s tennis compete in NAIA Regionals

Caleb Soto, Staff Writer

A week before returning to campus, eight men and six women from Westmont’s tennis teams traveled to San Diego for the International Tennis Association (ITA) NAIA Regionals. 

When asked about going to Regionals, Coach Mark Basham replied, “At first … I was concerned that there were too many hurdles to contend with … coming back to campus and then getting appropriately prepared to compete.” 

Coach Ellie Searle echoed, “We had three practices going into the tournament which is not nearly enough time to be prepared.” 

Not only was the adjustment period short, but coaches and players had to adapt to the new ITA COVID-19 protocols. Masks had to be worn at all times, except on court, and spectators were kept to a maximum of two per player. 

Coach Searle noted, “Our players did a great job focusing on what they can control and forgetting the rest.”

Day one action for the ladies in singles featured Emily Peterson breezing through her opening round 6-1, 6-0, and Sydney Lowry held off Angelika Sidirov 6-2, 7-6(3) to advance as well. Both Lowry and Peterson would fall in their second-round match later that day. Rachal Jackson and Olivia Madarang both had first-round byes. Madarang bowed out in the next round 1-6, 1-6, but Jackson moved on to the quarterfinals after beating Makenna Mountain 6-4, 7-6. Sadly, she lost the following day 5-7, 0-6. Other first-round matches saw Ana Negri lose 1-6, 2-6, and Logan Jackson lost 0-6, 2-6. 

In doubles, Logan Jackson and Negri lost 2-8 in the first round, while Peterson and Lowry powered through their match, winning 8-0. Their win set up an all-Westmont doubles quarterfinal as Peterson and Lowry faced Madarang and Rachal Jackson. In the end, Madarang and Rachal Jackson came out on top 8-4. Later on that day, the duo played for a spot in the finals, but they lost 4-8 to a doubles team from San Diego Christian University.

At the end of the tournament, Coach Searle said, “We did face some disappointment, but our players were composed and used it as a learning experience.”

Sebastian Vethan serves the ball. (Ethan Vaughan)

As for the men, they had a strong showing from two of their four freshmen. 

“It was nice getting to know the freshmen guys more,” said Matt Alleman, “they showed up and played great on the court.” 

Ethan Ha was the standout player for Westmont at this tournament. He took out his first-round opponent 6-0, 6-0, and then led 6-1, 4-1 before his opponent retired. In the quarterfinals, however, Ha faced a much stiffer test and eventually fell 1-6, 3-6. Aside from Ha, freshman Callen Hein battled through his first match, winning 6-3, 5-7, 10-7, but couldn’t close the deal in his second match, losing 7-5, 2-6, 7-10. The other two freshmen, Michael Hopkins and Logan Thompson, lost their opening matches. Sebastian Vethan lost a tight first match 4-6, 7-6, 7-10, while Zachary Prince and Alleman both lost in the second round.

In doubles play, Ha and Hein battled all the way to the semifinals before finally crashing out 5-8 to a team from San Diego Christian University. As for the other three doubles teams, Alleman and Prince, Benjamin Saito and Thompson, and Vethan and Hopkins all won their opening round but all lost in the quarterfinals.