PASADENA (Feb. 9, 2019) – A short-handed Caltech women's tennis squad showed its grit in the season opener against reigning national champions Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges on Saturday afternoon, particularly in singles competition.
Facing an uphill battle to reel off five singles wins in order to claim the match, the Beavers performed admirably against the nation's top-ranked team and earned three wins – all in super tiebreakers – to start the year. Senior Kana Moriyama (Redmond, Wash. / Redmond) set the tone at first singles by earning her first-ever win over Nicole Tan, the Athenas top-ranked player in last year's national championship match. Moriyama won the first set, 7-5 before taking a step back in a competitive 4-6 second set. The senior closed out the match with a 10-7 win in the super tiebreaker to earn a victory that could prove pivotal individually as the season rolls along.
Not to be outdone, freshman Anna Tifrea (Fullerton, Calif. / Troy) and sophomore Sarina Liu (Rolling Hills, Calif. / Palos Verdes Peninsula) also scored wins at second and fourth singles, respectively. Tifrea started hot with a 6-2 first set, but like Moriyama needed the super tiebreaker to secure the win after a tight 5-7 second set. Tifrea came out on top, 10-8, in the decisive round to earn her first career singles victory in the regular season. Liu, meanwhile, traded 6-4 sets with her opponent before shutting the door with a 10-8 super tiebreaker in the longest match of the day to give the Beavers a third win over the Athenas. Freshman Michelle Hyun (Cerritos, Calif. / Gretchen Whitney) also put up a strong showing in her regular-season debut, narrowly falling 7-5, 6-4, at third singles.
Head Coach Mandy Gamble and the Beavers will have a week to prepare before they face another stiff SCIAC challenge in the form of No. 8 Pomona-Pitzer Colleges on the road Saturday, Feb. 16 at 10 a.m.