PASADENA (Feb. 16, 2019) – The No. 32-ranked Caltech men's tennis team made a highly successful 2019 debut this weekend, blanking the 31st-ranked University of California, Santa Cruz, 9-0, on home court Saturday afternoon.
The victory is sure to help the men's team's standing in both the national poll and West regional rankings. Caltech's most significant victory came when West Region No. 19 sophomore Varun Shanker (Midland, Mich. / Midland Dow) took down top-ranked Chad LeDuff of UC Santa Cruz, 6-3, 6-1, in the third-quickest singles match of the day. Shanker, along with partner and classmate James Wei (Chappaqua, N.Y. / Horace Greeley), makes up the region's top doubles team and successfully defended their ranking despite stiff opposition from fifth-ranked Ryan Dugan and LeDuff at first doubles. Wei went on to take down Dugan at second singles, 6-1, 6-1, in the second-fastest match of the afternoon.
The day also saw some of the Beavers' freshman players make successful collegiate regular season debuts. Matthew Gonzalgo (Plantation, Fla. / St. Thomas Aquinas) earned a dominant victory at third singles, 6-1, 6-1, and earlier in the day teamed with junior Connor Soohoo (Redwood Shores, Calif. / Crystal Springs) at second-doubles to pick up a decisive 8-2 win. Fellow freshman Patryk Kozlowski (Irvine, Calif. / University High) made up Caltech's third doubles team alongside sophomore Kevin Yu (Mason, Ohio / Cincinnati Country Day), and the duo went on to win their match, 8-6, staking the Beavers to a 3-0 lead before singles began. The fastest Caltech win of the day belonged to junior Miha Valencic (Colleyville, Texas / Grapevine), who dispatched his opponent, 6-0, 6-0, at fourth singles. Yu and Soohoo rounded out Caltech's day at fifth and sixth singles, winning their matches 6-3, 6-1 and 6-2, 6-0, respectively.
Head Coach Jason Cohen and the Beavers will look to continue their strong start to the season on Monday, Feb. 18 when they host No. 21 Brandeis University for another chance to ascend the ITA national rankings.