In a tough, non-conference matchup against Trinity University from Texas, the California Lutheran University men’s tennis team fell to the Tigers in a 9-0 loss.
The Tigers, who came into the match ranked number 13 in Division III according to NCAA rankings, had just come off of a loss against the number 14 Pomona-Pitzer College. The Kingsmen were trying to shake off a loss in their previous match against Skidmore College where they fell 6-3.
The Tigers set the tone early as they swept the Kingsmen in doubles play and took an early 3-0 lead.
At court number one, senior Lucas Tilly and junior Yahn Gawrit took on Trinity’s top doubles group. The Tigers jumped out to an early lead as the Kingsmen duo struggled early on with their serves. After the Kingsmen were able to take the fourth game from the Tigers, Gawrit began to establish his powerful serve as they took another two games to tie the set at 3-3. This didn’t seem to phase the Tigers however, as the six-foot-five, hard-hitting junior Wilson Lambeth, helped the Tigers jump out to a 7-3 lead needing just one more game to win the set. The Kingsmen were able to take one more game before losing the set at eight games to four.
The Kingsmen’s two other doubles groups struggled in their matchups as well. On the second court, Dara Kashani and Andrew Tufenkian lost a hard fought 8-3 set and Sebastian Ariza and Joshua Legardy fell 8-2 in the No. 3 spot.
“I’m not happy in the final outcome of the match,” Kashani said. “I’m disappointed, but overall we played a good match and our doubles is slowly building up and improving.”
Following the doubles games, the Kingsmen looked to bounce back going into singles play.
Starting at the one again for the Kinsmen was Gawrit, this time taking on freshman star Wilson Hamilton for the Tigers. Gawrit served first in the match taking the first game but was quickly rebutted by Hamilton who took the second game. Gawrit took the next two games but the tides turned when Hamilton caught fire and won four straight games to make the score 5-3 Trinity. Gawrit was able to take one more game before being defeated in the first set 6-4.
The second set proved to be a fight for both players as Gawrit went up 6-5 needing just one more game to win the set and force a third set. However, Hamilton came back to win the next game and tie the set at 6-6 forcing a tie break. Gawrit battled but just came up short as Hamilton won the tie break 7-5 winning the set and the match for Trinity.
“It’s been a bit of a struggle lately but I saw a lot of improvements today,” Gawrit said. “I’ve started to recognize short balls better and my cross court backhand is really improving. It’s really beginning to help me out a lot and hopefully it continues to help me going into our upcoming matches.”
As for the rest of the singles matches, Trinity took them all by a substantial amount, showing their dominance and rank 13 in the nation.
“At the end of the day, the difference in level was just a little bit too much for us to make it into the match,” said Kingsmen Head Coach Mike Gennette. “But I feel that everyone took something away from the match in order to stick to our motto of one percent better each day and going forward we’re going to keep giving it everything we got and look to flip these matches into the win column.”