PASADENA (Mar. 23, 2019) – Less than a week removed from beating its highest-ranked opponent ever, the 29th-ranked Caltech men's tennis team outdid themselves once again, earning a new highest-ranked win over Whitman College in the first of two Saturday matches.
Caltech 5, Whitman 4
Sophomores Varun Shanker (Midland, Mich. / Midland Dow) and James Wei (Chappaqua, N.Y. / Horace Greeley), the region's top-ranked doubles team fended off a challenge from Whitman's eighth-ranked team in the region, 8-5, to begin the day. With the Beavers and Blues having split the six singles matches down the middle, Caltech's top double performances proved to be a difference maker in the morning. The Beavers' other win came from junior Connor Soohoo (Redwood Shores, Calif. / Crystal Springs) and freshman Patryk Kozlowski (Irvine, Calif. / University High) at second doubles when they ground out Whitman's second-ranked team, 8-6.
Shanker and Wei went on to take care of business at first and second singles. Shanker added another quality win to his resume when he took out the region's 12th-ranked player in Ben Kirsh. The sophomore dominated with a 6-0 first set but needed to overcome adversity in the ensuing set. Shanker trailed by as much as three games in the second and found himself trailing 40-0 against Kirsh's serve at 3-5. Caltech's top singles player then proceeded to save three set points to break his opponent and ultimately complete the comeback, 7-5. Wei, meanwhile won handily at second singles, 6-3, 6-0, and classmate Kevin Yu (Mason, Ohio / Cincinnati Country Day) got the Beavers' third singles win of the day when he won 6-0, 6-4, at fourth singles. Additionally, senior Derik Nguyen (Anaheim, Calif. / Canyon) came up short in a three-set thriller at sixth singles, and junior Miha Valencic (Colleyville, Texas / Grapevine) found himself in a battle at fifth singles with his opponent needing seven games in each set in order to put him away.
Williams 8, Caltech 1
A fatigued Caltech team took on No. 5 Williams College, but its lone victory of the match proved to be prominent. Shanker added yet another nationally-ranked singles win to his collection when he beat the Ephs' top singles player, Division III's 22nd-ranked player. The sophomore dropped the first set, 6-2, but rallied to pull out a 6-2 win of his own in the following set before edging his opponent in the deciding super tiebreaker, 10-8.
Head Coach Jason Cohen and the Beavers will be looking for their fourth win in the last five matches when they host Cohen's previous stop Colby College on Tuesday, Mar. 26 at 2 p.m.