REDLANDS, Calif. (Mar. 30, 2019) – The 21st-ranked Caltech men's tennis team came down to the wire with No. 22 University of Redlands on Saturday afternoon but came up short, albeit in dramatic fashion.
The Beavers found themselves in a 3-0 hole following doubles but showed the determination necessary in order to work their way back into contention for the win. With Caltech needing to win five out of six singles matches, sophomores Varun Shanker (Midland, Mich. / Midland Dow) and James Wei (Chappaqua, N.Y. / Horace Greeley) delivered at first and second singles respectively. Shanker took out the ninth-best player in the region, 6-3, 7-5 while Wei, the newly-minted 13th-ranked player in the region beat the 22nd-ranked player 6-3, 6-3.
Freshman Matthew Gonzalgo (Plantation, Fla. / St. Thomas Aquinas) and senior Derik Nguyen (Anaheim, Calif. / Canyon) picked up Caltech's third and fourth points of the day. Gonzalgo pulled out a three-setter, 7-5, 1-6, 6-3, at fourth singles while Nguyen got the job done, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 at sixth singles, thus placing the match on the racquet of junior Miha Valencic (Colleyville, Texas / Grapevine). Valencic pulled out the first set, 7-6, before falling short in the second set, 7-5, with the third set beginning at approximately the same time as the rest of the day's singles matches came to an end. Despite falling down a break early in the set, Valencic broke back, putting the match back on serve at 3-4. Though the junior ultimately came up short, the Beavers collectively showed their tenacity in defeat.
Head Coach Jason Cohen and the Beavers have a week to practice before picking up the SCIAC slate on Friday, Apr. 5 at California Lutheran University, 3 p.m.