Photo by Michael Wong
ORANGE, Calif. (Apr. 14, 2017) – The shorthanded Caltech men's tennis team staged another furious rally in singles play, but ultimately came up just short, 5-4, at Chapman University on Friday afternoon.
With the Beavers down three starters due to injury, several players were forced higher up the lineup against the dangerous Panthers. Chapman immediately took control of the match with a sweep of doubles. The Panthers picked up a quick 8-2 win at #3 doubles and doubled the lead with an 8-5 victory at #2, while seniors Ruthwick Pathireddy (Cerritos, Calif. / Whitney) and Ramsathwick Pathireddy (Irvine, Calif. / Whitney) ended up on the short end of a tiebreak at the top spot.
Caltech began to put together the makings of another major rally with first set wins at four courts. Sophomore Zixiao Li (Coppell, Texas / Coppell) earned the Beavers' first point with a 6-1, 6-1 win at #3, but Chapman soon pulled within one point of clinching the match with a victory at #6. Ruthwick and sophomore Andre Liu (Novi, Mich. / Novi) brought the Beavers just one point behind the hosts with straight set wins at #1 (7-5, 6-2) and #4 (6-4, 6-2), leaving only two courts remaining as both headed to a third set.
Sophomore Derik Nguyen (Anaheim, Calif. / Canyon) quickly wrapped up a 1-6, 6-4, 6-2 comeback at #2 to level the match as senior Morgan Lebby (Laguna Beach, Calif. / Laguna Beach) battled at #5. Playing his first match since Mar. 4, the tri-captain stayed on serve through the first four games before going down a break, but got right back on serve and held through 4-4. His opponent dug in and pulled out the final three games to seal the victory, though, 6-7 (4), 6-3, 7-5.
Head Coach Mandy Gamble and the Beavers, now at 5-8 overall and 2-3 in the SCIAC, host No. 10 University of Redlands (13-6, 5-1) tomorrow, Saturday, Apr. 15 at 10 a.m.