PASADENA (Apr. 6, 2019) – The Caltech men's tennis team brute forced its way back into the win column on Saturday when they hosted and defeated Occidental College on Faculty Appreciation Day.
The Beavers managed to right the ship after a tough recent stretch of doubles matches by opening the morning with a 3-0 lead on the Tigers. Fourth-ranked sophomore tandem James Wei (Chappaqua, N.Y. / Horace Greeley) and Varun Shanker (Midland, Mich. / Midland Dow) got pushed to the limit by Oxy's top doubles team but pulled through 9-7 in the tiebreaker to secure the Beavers' final doubles point, needing to win six out of the final seven points to notch the win. Caltech also got a dominant win at third doubles when freshman Jake Will (Honolulu, Hawaii / Punahou School) joined forces with senior Zixiao Li (Coppell, Texas / Coppell) to handle their opponents, 8-1.
Needing two wins to clinch, Caltech made quick work of its rival. Shanker avenged the loss he received at the hands of Oxy's top player last year with a convincing 6-1, 6-0, victory on home court. Additionally, Wei, senior Derik Nguyen (Anaheim, Calif. / Canyon), and sophomore Kevin Yu (Mason, Ohio / Cincinnati Country Day) all won their matches in straight sets or less (Yu won by retirement after leading 5-0 at third singles). Junior Miha Valencic (Colleyville, Texas / Grapevine) provided the exclamation point, rallying from a 5-7 first set to win the second set, 6-3, and the decisive super tiebreaker, 10-6, to put the home team up 8-1 on the day.
Head Coach Jason Cohen and the Beavers will now begin preparation for No. 13 Pomona-Pitzer Colleges on Friday, Mar. 12 at 3 p.m. in a match sure to carry SCIAC playoff implications.