Men's Tennis Comes Back to Top No. 26 Whitter
HONOLULU, Haw. – For the second straight match, the 13th-ranked Whitman men's tennis team recovered from a 1-2 doubles deficit to topple a ranked opponent. This time, their victims were the 26th-ranked Poets from Whittier College.
Andy Riggs, Jr.
Despite Whitman's continued doubles struggles, they got on the board first thanks to an impressive performance from Andrew La Cava (Bellevue, WA) and Colton Malesovas (Austin, TX). Whitman's 1-2 combo got on top of Whittier's Julian Seneviratne and David Konstantinov early and cruised to an 8-3 win. Whittier quickly knotted things up, however, when Shogo Shimizu and Matt Herron strung together five straight games in the middle of their match against Sam Sadeghi (Glendale, CA) and Steven Roston (San Carlos, CA) and proceeded to win 8-3 at No. 3.
Whittier took the lead at No. 2 doubles when Chris Schommer and Andy Hansen bested Andy Riggs (Auburn, CA) and Matt Tesmond (Cincinnati, OH) in a topsy-turvy affair. The Poets took an early break lead in that one, only to get broken back serving at 3-2. The Whits took a brief lead two games later when they broke for a 5-3 lead, but got broken back immediately. The two teams traded holds, and Whitman had two chances to go up 7-5, but Whittier held, broke, and held for the match.
Sam Sadeghi, Sr.
Early in singles, it appeared as though the match would go down to the wire. Malesovas dropped a quick first set to Seneviratne at No. 1, and both Sadeghi and Roston went down early breaks at No. 3 and No. 5, respectively. Though Riggs, junior Will Huskey (Auburn, CA), and La Cava were up in their singles matches, it was unclear where Whitman would get a fifth team point. Whitman turned the momentum permanently with a couple big comebacks.
Sadeghi started his comeback first, when he rattled off four straight games while trailing 2-4 to win his first set 6-4. Roston broke with his opponent serving for the first set twice, jumped out to an early lead in his tiebreaker, and held on for a 7-6 (7-3) victory. While that was happening, Malesovas was working his way to a 6-2 second set victory. That's when Whittier began to unravel.
After his first set comeback, Sadeghi rolled in his second set against Chris Schommer to win 6-4 6-2. At No. 6, Huskey was second off after overcoming some nerves late in the first set to win by the identical score over Shogo Shimizu to give Whitman a 3-2 lead. Whittier's Konstantinov briefly tied things back up by ousting La Cava 6-4 6-4 at No. 2, but Malesovas put Whitman back in front by completing his 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 comeback. Then, the search for the clinching 5th point began. Riggs had won his first set against Matt Herron in a tiebreaker but was down a break in the second. Meanwhile, Roston was on serve in his second set against the big serving freshman Sam Farmer.
Ultimately, Riggs ended the drama first by winning the final five games to complete a 7-6 (4), 6-3 triumph and clinch the match for Whitman. Roston was just behind him. He broke Farmer at 5-5 in the second, only to get broken back immediately. Once again, Roston prevailed in the tiebreaker and won 7-6 (3) 7-6 (4). The 6-3 victory was both Whitman's second consecutive comeback and second time in a row that the Missionaries swept the bottom half of the singles lineup. Whitman's depth will be put to the test tomorrow at 1:30 PM when the Missionaries take on the 4th-ranked Stags from Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. The Stags are coming off back-to-back victories over the No.1 and No. 2 teams in the country. Follow Whitman College Athletics (@WhitmanSports) and Coach Jeff Northam (@northam) on Twitter for match updates.
Assistant coach Robert Holton-Burke contributed this story.
#13 Whitman def. #26 Whittier 6-3
1. La Cava/Malesovas (Whitman) def. Konstantinov/Seneviratne (Whittier) 8-3
2. Schommer/Andy Hansen (Whittier) def. Riggs/Matt Tesmond (Whitman) 8-6
3. Shimizu/Herron (Whittier) def. Roston/Sadeghi (Whitman) 8-3
1. Colton Malesovas (Whitman) def. Julian Seneviratne (Whittier) 2-6, 6-2, 6-2
2. David Konstantinov (Whittier) def. Andrew La Cava (Whitman) 6-4, 6-4
3. Sam Sadeghi (Whitman) def. Chris Schommer (Whitter) 6-4, 6-2
4. Andy Riggs (Whitman) def. Matt Herron (Whittier) 7-6 (4), 6-3
5. Steven Roston (Whitman) def. Samuel Farmer (Whittier) 7-6 (4), 7-6 (3)
6. Will Huskey (Whitman) def. Shogo Shimizu (Whittier) 6-4, 6-2