Here are the match recaps:
UC San Diego- Win 6-3
The slugs came out firing in our first match of the break and played amazing stuff from start to finish beating a very tough UCSD team 6-3. With a doubles sweep to start the match (Ian Stanley/Erik Rosner, Parker Larsen/Erich Koenig, and Max Littlejohn/Devin Nerenberg) the Slugs never let up playing amazing tennis from top to bottom. With impressive wins by Parker Larsen, in his first match back, Erik Rosner, and Bryce Bettwy, the match was over. It is great to have Parker back as you could see in this match that he was just plain happy to be playing tennis again. Sam Rodgers got in a #7 match and played one of his best matches of the year.
Williams- Loss 2-7
This was a match we had been looking forward to as Williams is currently ranked #3 in the country in our division. With the same doubles lineup the tides unfortunately turned that Tuesday morning, as we were the team swept going into the singles. We had a close match at #3 doubles and lost by one break at #1 doubles; in the end Williams snagged all three. We fought extremely hard in singles and at one point I felt we were about to turn the match. We were up at #1, #3, #5, and #6 and fighting back at the other two spots. In the end we grabbed wins fromParker at #3 and Bryce at #6 singles. Devin and Erik Rosner lost in super tiebreakers and we came up short in both Erich Koenig and Andre Halabi's matches. It was a great learning experience for us on how crucial doubles is in terms of momentum. Hats off to Williams playing tough that day.
University of Redlands- Win 6-3
Another huge bright spot for the Slugs this break was our match against one of our rivals the University of Redlands. Playing our usual doubles lineup we had wins at #2 and #3 doubles going into singles (on top of doubles wins at #4, #5, and #6). Our connection, energy, fire, and composure all showed as we came out firing in this match and never ceased. With wins by Devin, Erich Koenig, Andre Halabi, and Bryce Bettwy, we secured 6 points. Tough 3-set losses from Parker and Riza finished the day with a still brilliant effort.
Concordia- Loss 2-7
Another match of getting swept in doubles showed that this is the area we need to improve. Concordia is a tough team and though we were competitive at spots they jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead. At 4th doubles Eli Scandalis and Bryce Bettwy continued their stretch of great play with a solid victory. Our lone singles wins of the day came from Parker Larsen and Erich Koenig at #2 and #3 singles. Parker gritted out a tough 3-set match and Erich played an extremely composed match to get the win. There were a lot of lessons to be learned but most importantly it was time to get ready to play a very tough regional opponent Pomona-Pitzer that next morning.
Pomona Pitzer- Loss 4-5
The Slugs came out firing at all our doubles that morning but in the end we only grabbed a win at #2 (along with a win by Eli and Bryce at #4 exhibition). Ian and Riza lost a close match by one break of serve at #1 doubles. We fought off 7 match points at #3 doubles as Max and Devin almost found a way to sneak out a victory. We were down 1-2 going into singles but ready to fight to the very end. I was extremely impressed with the boys positive attitudes going into the singles, as I knew our character would be tested. Unfortunately it was not our day as the Sage hens won at #3, #4, and #5 singles to secure the win. With wins by Devin, Erich Koenig, and Bryce, the end of the day score was 4-5.
With everybody on the team having great streaks of play this trip the message upon returning was clear, "we need to get better if we want to go all the way." Monday I was so impressed to go out early to practice to find more than half of the team playing on their own accord. These same guys stayed after practice for more; true resiliency. When times get tough and the support and effort remain, that is when you know you have a good thing going. These young men are amazing and I am so proud of all that they bring.
Special thanks to Eli's, Erik Rosner's, Erich Koenig's, and Bryce Bettwy's families who housed and fed the Slugs over the break (Tall order!). It was an amazing trip with a ton of fond memories. The Slugs next big and last home match of the year is against a very tough Cal Lutheran team on Sunday April 22nd at 10am. We are getting closer to the NCAA's in May and will charge ahead with everything we have.