Kingsmen Tennis Falls to Undefeated Bulldogs

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After upsetting the nationally-ranked No. 21 Caltech Beavers Friday, April 5, the Kingsmen returned to their home court Saturday, April 6 to face the No. 22 nationally-ranked University of Redlands Bulldogs. The Kingsmen were unable to get the win against the undefeated Bulldogs, ending the match with a final score of 7-2.

The Kingsmen looked to gain ground after Friday’s win moved them up in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference standings from last place to sixth place.

The Bulldogs and Kingsmen sent out their three doubles teams to start off the morning. Redlands started off strong, claiming the first two doubles matches against the Kingsmens’ number one doubles senior Yahn Gawrit and sophomore Isaiah Volk, and their number three doubles made up of first-year teammates Aaron Moylan and Guillaume Ruaud. Both teams lost by scores of 4-8.

However, the Kingsmen’s number two doubles team was able to earn their first point of the match. Senior Ransom Braaten and junior teammate Jake Haffner managed to defeat Redlands first-years Thomas Reznik and Andrew Yip. After all double matches the score was 2-1 Redlands.

The Kingsmen then headed into their single matches with Gawrit, Braaten and Volk in the first three spots. Haffner, Moylan and junior Sebastian Ariza followed in spots four through six.

On court three, there was a unique match up between left-handed players Volk and his Redlands opponent Reznik. Volk is a former Division-I transfer from George Mason University, and is new to the Kingsmen roster this year.

“I knew this team was good as they just beat Caltech. I knew I had to be aggressive today otherwise we would be overwhelmed by their aggressive play,” Volk said.

He was able to earn his first points with a forehand strike. Early in his match, he was able to frustrate Reznik with his left-handed serve.

Throughout several rotations Volk and Reznik were separated by just a point. There seemed to be a controversial dispute between the two about whether or not the ball had stayed in bounds.

“Things got a little heated… I knew I made a close call during an important point and he thought I hooked him, which means he thought I cheated the call. I knew I had to keep my cool and move forward,” Volk said.

After a competitive battle, Volk lost in two sets with scores of 6-4 and 6-3.

The Kingsmen struggled in singles as the number two through six spots were all unable to earn the Kingsmen anymore points for the match.

Volk said the team struggled because of the three matches they had in just two days.

“The turnaround was tough,” Volk said.

However, in the no. 1 spot, Gawrit was able to take the match in just two sets.

Gawrit was covering a lot of ground, hustling across the court and slamming into the surrounding fences a couple times in an effort to reach his opponent’s hits.

Senior Kylel Gillam was sidelined with an injury for Saturday’s match, but said he was happy with his team captain’s performance.

“Yahn [Gawrit], our captain and number one, stood out the most today…He played very well and was able to come out with a big win against a strong opponent,” Gillam said.

Gawrit managed to take the first set with a score of 6-3, and continued to battle the heat and win the next set 6-4.

The Kingsmen lost the match early with Redlands earning seven match points and Cal Lutheran only two.

After Saturday’s loss and  a nonconference win against St. Katherine College, the Kingsmen maintain their position at No. 6 in SCIAC. Their conference record remains 1-3, while their overall record has been bumped up to 10-6.

The Kingsmen will host the Whittier College Poets next Friday, April 12 at 3 p.m.

Dominick Grimm
Reporter