Warriors fall in NAIA quarters

Westmont Men’s Tennis lost a 5-0 match to top-seeded Fresno Pacific on Thursday at the NAIA Men’s Tennis Championship in Mobile, Alabama. This marks the third year in a row the Warriors have reached the quarterfinals of the national tournament.

The Warriors were swept in doubles action; giving Fresno a 3-0 lead going into singles.

“I was hoping that we would win one or two of the doubles, and if we really were lucky, all three,” said Westmont head coach Mark Basham. “I felt like we got taken out of it early at one and three doubles. Emotionally, we weren’t able to rally at those positions. At number two doubles, I thought our emotions got the best of us. They were in the lead, but they got down on themselves and it turned into a runaway train.”

At number one, Fresno Pacific’s Xavier Smith and Cled Carvalho defeated Bryan Cox and Rodrigo Schaefer 8-2. On the number two court, Kirill Sinitsyn and Nathan Martinet defeated Tim Goranson and John Bertram 9-7. Amarit Sanchez and Lloyd Bruce-Burgess won on number three doubles, by a score of 8-2, defeating Lukas Zielen and Joshua Barnard.

“We hung in their better in the singles than in the doubles,” said Basham. “I thought there was some fight in our singles matches. Lukas won the first set and was two-all in the second against the guy who won at Ojai. Tim won the first set of his match. John went to 7-6 in the first set. Rodrigo was at three-all in the second set.”

All four of those matches were left unfinished when Fresno Pacific won at number one and number six singles to claim the requisite five points to end the contest and bring an end to Westmont’s season.

Reflecting on the 2012 season, Basham said, “The year had a lot of gratifying times and was certainly a positive. Our biggest area of focus was in our attitude on the court.

“We got behind the eight-ball at the beginning of the year with some tough matches – UCSB and Fresno. We beat Claremont, but lost those tough, 5-4 matches early on against Vanguard and Concordia. Our team had to rally the forces and I as thrilled with our wins against Vanguard and Concordia back home later in the season.”

Basham credited team captain Brian Cox with much of the Warriors’ success.

“Bryan did a great job in helping to set the tone for Westmont tennis,” said Basham. “He did a lot for me personally with his great leadership and was always looking out for the team. He has helped to put us in good stead for the future.”

“It has been an up and down year, but it is good to leave the program in good standing,” said Cox. “It has definitely been a big part of me maturing and growing up. I have really loved my time at Westmont.”

Asked in what ways he has matured as a result of his experience on the men’s tennis team, Cox replied, “The pressure is very intense mentally and physically in tennis. In life, I think there will be a lot of situations like that, so it has definitely helped me improve and learn how to control emotions and hopefully be better in the rest of my life.”

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