Photo by Ellen Friedlander
PASADENA, Calif. (Mar. 22, 2016) – Freshman Andre Liu (Novi, Mich. / Novi) won his team-high sixth singles match of the year as Caltech men's tennis remained at .500 on the season with a defeat to No. 39 Pacific University and thrilling 5-4 victory over Saint Lawrence University on Monday and Tuesday.
Caltech 0, No. 39 Pacific (Ore.) 5
The Beavers, missing two of their freshman starters over both matches, dropped a pair of close doubles matches at #2 (8-6) and #3 (8-5) to fall into a 3-0 hole heading to singles play, where the Boxers quickly took first sets at four courts. Junior Ruthwick Pathireddy (Cerritos, Calif. / Whitney) went up a set at #4, but soon after Pacific clinched with wins at #2 and #3 to end the match.
Caltech 5, Saint Lawrence 4
Doubles were hotly contested at all three courts, with the Beavers finally separating by a break at #1 as both lower courts remained on serve. Just as junior Morgan Lebby (Laguna Beach, Calif. / Laguna Beach) and freshman Praful Vasireddy (Tulsa, Okla. / OSSM) claimed the victory at the top spot, however, the Saints went up by a break at #2 and soon evened the score. With #3 doubles still on serve through the first 12 games, junior Ramsathwick Pathireddy (Irvine, Calif. / Whitney) and Liu got the break to take the match and crucial 2-1 lead heading to singles.
In the closest match of the season, the foes split three first sets apiece, but the Beavers managed to close out two of those as Ramsathwick Pathireddy won 6-4, 6-0 at #5 and Ruthwick later finished 6-1, 7-5 at #4. Saint Lawrence only was able to close out #1, 6-4, 6-2, as the other three courts headed to third sets. Lebby went down at #3 and the Saints tied the match after a narrow second set victory at #2, 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, leaving only the #6 spot still on serve at 3-2.
Liu held serve to make it 3-3 and, with the whole team backing him from the next court over, promptly broke his opponent to go ahead 4-3. Both players held serve at the next changeover, giving Liu a chance to serve for the match. The rookie broke free at 30-15 before serving for match point, which he took on the first try to seal the victory and bring the Beavers back to .500 on the season.
Head Coach Mandy Gamble and the Beavers depart for a three-match swing through Texas this Thursday-Saturday, where they will face Texas Lutheran University, LeTourneau University and UT-Tyler.