After a 12 day hiatus Westmont Men’s Tennis (5-5) returned to action on Thursday in Santa Barbara when they hosted NCAA Div. III Sewanee (6-3). In the first ever meeting between the two, the Warriors bested the Tigers, the 22nd-ranked team in Div. III, by a score of 5-2.
The Warriors came out with their foot on the gas in doubles, setting the tone for what proved to be an exciting match. With the first clinch of the day Ethan Ha and Logan Thompson defeated G.T. Alexander Liam Selvido 6-1 on one, and to secure the doubles point, Benny Saito and Owen Vander Ark bested Hugh Graham and Liam Baer by the same score on two.
“On paper, this was a team who was favored to beat us,” admitted Westmont head coach Mark Basham. “I’m super happy with the way we started in doubles today. We took care of business on one and two and had great energy, and I was also happy with the way number three battled.
“Doubles really set the tone, we carried it over big time.”
In singles Thompson was the first Warrior to push the club closer to clinch, as he defeated Alexander 6-4, 4-1 on one. Following Thompson’s result, Cody Ray Emery pulled Westmont within one point of victory after he defeated Selvido 6-3, 6-3, on court two. The Tigers got their first point of the match on court three, where Matt Barnett out-lasted Vander Ark 6-3, 7-6 (5), but the Warriors would not surrender another point before clinching the match.
Doing the honors once again was none other than Ha, who defeated Jax Harbour 7-6 (1), 6-3. Following their clinch on three the sides played the match all the way through, with the day coming to an end on six after Saito won a tiebreaker in the final set.
“Logan got it done on one, really taking control when he won that close first set,” reflected Basham. “Cody Ray did a great job putting us up on two, which was awesome. Collectively, the guys were playing more aggressively today.
“The guys were playing more to win, stepping in and using their legs better. I loved that Benny won his match serving a volley. It was super to see Ethan clinch again as well.”
The Warriors now turn their attention to GSAC play where the club will host two conference rivals this weekend. On Friday at 1:00 p.m., the Warriors host Menlo, and on Saturday at 10:00 a.m., Westmont hosts Jessup.
“It’s nice to get back to .500,” noted Basham, “and we’ve had some good wins along the way. We’re looking forward to getting ready first for tomorrow, and then Saturday.”
Jacob Norling is the sports information assistant at Westmont College.