Several Wildcat tennis players were tested against the top singles players and doubles teams in the west during the 111th Ojai Valley Tournament on April 27-30.
Senior Sarah Click and junior Abby Olbrich represented the women’s team in singles and doubles. Both lost first-round singles match-ups but then beat juniors Katie Thaxton and Abbie Zaretsky of Master’s College in the first round of the women’s doubles tournament, 6-1, 6-1. That was as far as the pair advanced.
The duo lost to the top-seeded Point Loma Nazarene University in the second round, 1-6, 1-6. Point Loma became the women’s doubles champions.
Olbrich said the tournament was a valuable experience.
“It was good preparation for regionals and was a good learning experience to have in general,”she said.
Men’s head coach Carl Swanson also noted the value of the tournament.
“For the women, it was basically preparation for the team regional tournament. It was a chance to go down to southern California, play in that environment and play top players because it’s a similar type of environment that we’re going to see at regionals,” Swanson said.
Click and Oblrich, along with the rest of the women’s team, will play in the NCAA Division III regional tournament May 13-15. The location and opponent have yet to be determined.
The tournament provided an opportunity for singles players and doubles teams to play their way into the NCAA national championship. However, none of the Linfield men’s singles players or doubles teams advanced beyond the second round.
Seniors Tal DeWitt and Mark Magdaong both fell in the first round of singles action. Senior Brent Kingzett defeated Chapman University sophomore Dylan Tevlin, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, in the first round but followed that with a 0-6, 0-6 loss to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps College’s senior Russel Brocket.
Kingzett did not finish as well as he anticipated, but he reflected positively on the season and the team’s work ethic.
“Despite losing several close matches and not achieving the success we were used to, the way we prepared for matches and battled to win never wavered,” he said.
Kingzett and Magdaong competed in the men’s doubles tournament, but the team lost in the first round.
DeWitt and senior Tim Wagar edged out California Institute of Technology freshmen Devashish Joshi and Luka Mernik, 9-8, in the first round but also lost in the second round against sophomore Parker Larsen and senior Brian Pybas of the University of California, Santa Cruz, 4-8.
Swanson said he was happy with the mens’ performances, especially since no men’s singles player from the Northwest Conference advanced past the second round.
“It’s the experience of being there, knowing they belong and being a part of it and enjoying some success,” he said. “In terms of how we performed relative to our peers, we did a good job.”
As the tournament marked the end of the road for the men’s players, Swanson noted a few of the mens’ attributes that will be missed.
“As a program, you are going to miss their experience, you are going to miss their leadership, and you are going to miss their competitiveness,” he said.
Kingzett said he hopes to have instilled some of these qualities with the underclassmen.
“I hope to have left them with a sense of motivation and a will to win and to make the best of these years that they can, because it goes by quickly,” he said.
Rae Smith/Staff reporter
Rae Smith can be reached at email@example.com.