Kingsmen tennis team gears up for Hawaii trip with hard-fought win over Grinnell


Photo by Isabella Veljacic - Reporter

Senior Darvel Lossangoye clinched two points for the Kingsmen, including the decisive one by winning his doubles match with junior Shawn Rothermel.

Isabella Veljacic, Reporter

California Lutheran University men’s tennis team won their second game of the season with a score of 5-4 against Grinnell College, ending their six-game losing streak. 

Senior Parker McBride said that belief was the reason they were able to turn their run of losses around.

“Hopefully, this win will be a catalyst for more wins with our games going forward,” junior Shawn Rothermel said. 

In National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III tennis matches, three doubles and six singles matches are played. This results in a total of nine matches played with each contributing to a point on the overall scoreboard. The six singles matches opened up play at the Poulson Tennis Center.

The Kingsmen won two of their three doubles matches, with graduate student Aaron Moylan and McBride losing their doubles match with a score of 8-2 at the No. 1 spot. McBride said their opponents were not the strongest and that they have beaten them in the past. 

“They definitely raised their level from last year when we beat them pretty handily. This year they definitely came back looking for revenge,” Rothermel said. 

Grinnell College put up a fight throughout the game, but it was not enough, as the Kingsmen came out on top.

“We knew it was going to be close, and we also knew that they are a loud bunch and the energy was going to be high so we tried to match it,” Assistant Men’s Tennis Coach Eugene Karimov said. 

Senior Darvel Lossangoye clinched two points for the Kingsmen, as he won his singles match before winning in doubles paired with Rothermel. Lossangoye and Rothermel’s doubles match was the decider, as the score was tied at 4-4 before they sealed the win in their first pairing together this season. 

“Everyone was pretty excited but at the same time pretty nervous because the other team kept getting chances, but in the end, they pulled through and held serve when it counted,” Karimov said.

Rothermel said that he and Lossangoye have been on the team the longest, and they both “fight to the death,” which helps them work so well together.

“It felt amazing to clinch the win for our team, it was electric, and it was a great atmosphere and a very great win,” Rothermel said. 

The first win of the game for the Kingsmen came by way of first-year Cade Haffner, who won his match at the No. 5 spot. 

“It was a really good match and a really good win for me,” Haffner said. “Both of us were serving really well… It made it really tough to get ahead.” 

Despite having a change in the lineup and playing doubles pairings that were different from the Kingsmen’s usual starting squad, Karimov said that the team responded well to the challenge. 

Rothermel said this gives the team great momentum going into their spring break trip to Hawaii, where they will play three games, one NCAA Division I team and two NCAA Division II teams. 

“We feel pretty good after today, we are hoping to get at least two out of the three games. We want to come out winning in Hawaii, we don’t want to just get shutout,” McBride said. “And of course, Hawaii is going to be beautiful, so everyone is excited for that.”

Haffner said their matches in Hawaii are going to be tough, but it will be a good challenge for the team. 

“In Hawaii, we are hoping for some experience, but also some bonding time to get the group to get more close-knit with some of the new faces on the team,” Karimov said. 

Karimov said there is less pressure going into Hawaii because there is a lower expectation for the Kingsmen to win against higher-division teams.

“Hopefully, we will be able to play a little bit more freely and gain some valuable experience against better players,” Karimov said. 

The Kingsmen will play their first game in Hawaii against the University of Hawaii, Hilo on Friday, March 31.