CLAREMONT, Calif. (Oct. 1, 2016) – Freshmen Connor Soohoo (Redwood Shores, Calif. / Silicon Valley Tennis Acad.) and Tine Valencic (Colleyville, Texas / Grapevine) began their Caltech men's tennis careers with wins as the Beavers posted a program-record three wins at the ITA West Regional Championship on Friday and Saturday.
Soohoo opened the competition with a decisive victory over Whittier College rookie Maxwell Koszowski (6-0, 6-2), while Valencic dropped a hard-fought debut match to UC Santa Cruz's Derek Levchenko (7-6 , 6-2) before recording his first win in the back draw, handily defeating Akira Kasai (6-2, 6-1). Sophomore Derik Nguyen (Anaheim, Calif. / Canyon) rounded out the victorious Beavers with a back draw win over Chapman University's Rasmus Helms (6-2, 6-1).
Four of the five Beavers competing over the weekend fell to seeded opponents, with Valencic impressing the most in a 6-3, 6-4 defeat to #9 seed and former Top 100 recruit Jake Berber of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges. Sophomore Zixiao Li (Coppell, Texas / Coppell) took two games in each set off #9 Julian Gordy (CMS), while senior Morgan Lebby (Laguna Beach, Calif. / Laguna Beach) played a much closer match against #2 Jake Yasgoor (Pomona-Pitzer) than the score indicated. Lebby narrowly fell to Whittier's Hunter Kettering in the back draw, 5-7, 6-4, 10-8 while Soohoo and Nguyen bowed out of their respective consolation brackets at the hands of another pair of Sagehens.
In doubles action, Lebby and Soohoo went down to UCSC's likely #3 doubles team, 8-4, while Li and Nguyen succumbed to Redlands' Bryant Johnson and four-star recruit Avery Davis, 8-5.
The Beavers were without three starters in last year's lineup as well as their top two recruits this weekend.
Head Coach Mandy Gamble and the Beavers open the 2017 season at home vs. Biola University on Friday, Feb. 10.