Westmont tennis avenges loss with 5-4 victory

(SANTA BARBARA, Calif.) It was an afternoon of comebacks, but when the final serve had been made and the final rally ended, #7 Westmont Men’s Tennis avenged and earlier loss to #6 Point Loma Nazarene, defeating the Sea Lions 5-4 at the Abbott Tennis Courts on the Westmont campus.

On March 5, Westmont made a trip to San Diego only to suffer a 5-4 loss that did not sit well with the team. Since that time, today’s match has been circled in red on the Warriors’ calendar.

“In a lot of ways it is our biggest win of the year,” said Westmont head coach Mark Basham. “I knew it was going to be a battle today. Our team is really good. I am really proud of the guys and it is always fun to come out on top.”

From the very beginning, the team seemed to be battling from behind. The Warrior dropped two of three doubles matches to enter singles play down 2-1. Carlos Lima and Bryan Cox lost 8-5 at number one to the Sea Lions’ KC Ensley and Joel Myers. At number three, Point Loma’s Angel Tavera and DJ Jaehnig defeated Tiago Hayashi and Kent Storms by the same score.

The Warriors lone win in doubles came at number two where Tim Görenson and Lukas Zielen defeated Tyler Bowman and Diego Tavera. As a result of the doubles play, the Warriors would need to win on four of six courts to win the match.

The Warriors fell back another point when Michael Zablan quickly won at number six singles, defeating Stormans 6-0, 6-1. However, Westmont began to make its comeback when Cox won on court two over Bowman by scores of 7-5 and 6-4. Cox was aided by a boisterous contingent that was rooting him on.

“It is great to have all my buddies out to support us. It felt great to have them behind me,” said Cox. “I have beat (Bowman) twice before and so I was pretty confident going into it. In the first set, we were on serve and we broke each other a couple of times. Then I broke him to win the set. In the second set, it was four-all and I was down 15-30. Then I hit three aces to win the game. I didn’t play my best today, but I found a way to win. I knew if I could focus for long enough I was going to win the match.”

Zielen finished up next, winning on court five to tie the score of the match at three-all. Zielen defeated Jaehnig 6-4, 6-1 and appeared to be in control of the match from start to finish.

The remaining three matches would decide the outcome. On court four, Hayashi had lost the first set 6-4 to Diego Tavera, but was making his way back in the second set. Meanwhile, Lima was in his third set at number one against Myers as was Görenson on court three against Ensley. Both Lima and Görenson were down a break.

The match at number one finished first with Myers winning 2-6, 6-4, 6-3. That made the score 4-3 in favor of Point Loma, meaning the Warriors would need to win on both remaining courts.

Ensley was up 3-2 on court three when Görenson broke serve to tie the match at three-all. However, Görenson was in trouble.

“I felt my quad when I broke back to three all,” reported Görenson of falling to the ground during the game in which he broke serve. “Then the second point of the next game I felt it when I was serving. I landed down on it and I felt it cramp.”

Ensley was able to take advantage of Görenson’s physical challenges to break back and go up 4-3, however, that did not last as Görenson was able to stretch out his leg and continue play.

“He served very well in the second set and I couldn’t get over the kind of returns that I wanted,” said Görenson, “The balls get a little bigger as the match goes along. I started putting back a lot of returns from his first serve. He had to play more and missed some easy shots. He lost his rhythm a little bit.”

Görenson broke Ensley’s serve again, then held serve and broke serve once more to win the decisive third set 6-4.

In the meantime, Hayashi had turned the tables on his opponent, Diego Tavera. After losing the first set 4-6, the senior from Sao Paulo, Brazil won the second 6-2.

“In the first set I didn’t play my game well,” said Hayashi. “I tried to rush the points and made a lot of mistakes in the beginning. In the second set I tried to keep in as many shots as possible, put a lot of pressure on his backhand and make him move around a lot. One of the criteria of my game is to wear my opponents down and get him as tired as I can.

“It was a little tough at the end. I was playing loose because my team was down and I didn’t have a lot of pressure on me. Then when Tim won, I realized it was 4-4 and I had to win it for my team. I got a little tight and I felt the pressure on me.”

The pressure did not seem to have an adverse affect, however, as Hayashi dispatched Tavera 6-3 to claim the victory for the Warriors.

Westmont’s next game is scheduled for Tuesday at two o’clock when the Warriors will host the Cougars of #4 Azusa Pacific (15-4, 10-2 GSAC).

Westmont 5 Point Loma 4

1. MYERS, Joel (PLNU) def. LIMA, Carlos (WC) 2-6, 6-4, 6-3
2. COX, Bryan (WC) def. BOWMAN, Tyler (PLNU) 7-5, 6-4
3. GORANSON, Tim (WC) def. ENSLEY, KC (PLNU) 6-2, 2-6, 6-4
4. HAYASHI, Tiago (WC) def. TAVERA, Diego (PLNU) 4-6, 6-2, 6-3
5. ZIELEN, Lukas (WC) def. JAEHNIG, DJ (PLNU) 6-4, 6-1
6. ZABLAN, Michael (PLNU) def. STORMANS, Kent (WC) 6-0, 6-1

1. ENSLEY, KC/MYERS, Joel (PLNU) def. LIMA, Carlos/COX, Bryan (WC) 8-5
2. GORANSON, Tim/ZIELEN, Lukas (WC) def. BOWMAN, Tyler/TAVERA, Diego (PLNU) 8-5
3. TAVERA, Angel/JAEHNIG, DJ (PLNU) def. HAYASHI, Tiago/STORMANS, Kent (WC) 8-5