WHITTIER, Calif. (Apr. 30, 2016) – Junior Ruthwick Pathireddy (Cerritos, Calif. / Whitney) won key singles and doubles matches for Caltech men's tennis in a narrow 6-3 defeat in the regular season finale at West Region No. 10 Whittier College on Saturday after completing a postponed match at national No. 10 Pomona-Pitzer Colleges on Friday.
Caltech finishes the regular season at 9-8 overall – the program's best mark since 2003 – and tied for fourth place at 3-4 in the SCIAC. By virtue of the defeat to Whittier, the Beavers will be the #5 seed in this weekend's SCIAC Championships, which begin Friday with a rematch against the Poets.
Caltech 1, No. 10 Pomona-PItzer 8
The Beavers had picked up a win at #2 double on the original match date toward the beginning of the month before rain postponed singles. Junior Ruthwick Pathireddy (Cerritos, Calif. / Whitney) and freshman Derik Nguyen (Anaheim, Calif. / Canyon) defeated the Sagehens' Kalyan Chadalavada/Joshua Kim, 8-6, while the hosts took #1 (8-3) and #3 (8-1).
Caltech showed better than might have been expected in singles as the Sagehens trotted out all of their regulars but saw four of those lose at least four games each. Senior Rushikesh Joshi (Sunnyvale, Calif. / Archbishop Mitty) made West No. 3 Graham Maassen work to earn a narrow 6-4, 6-3 victory at the top court while Nguyen pushed Kim in the first set before going down 6-4, 6-2 and junior Ramsathwick Pathireddy (Irvine, Calif. / Whitney) stayed right with Maassen's doubles partner, Spencer Simonides – who helps form the West No. 2 team – at #6, falling 6-4, 6-2 as well. Ruthwick also fought national No. 22 and West No. 6 Jake Yasgoor to a 6-3, 6-1 defeat at #2.
Caltech 3, Whittier 6
Whittier opened with a quick victory by West No. 10 doubles pairing Sam Farmer/Andrew You at #1 before the foes split courts #2 and #3, with Ruthwick and Nguyen notching an 8-6 win at #2 but the Poets rallying from a 4-1 deficit to take #3, 8-5.
Down a point heading to singles, the Beavers needed to win four of the remaining six matches and came extremely close, with a pair of three-set battles at #2 and #4 going the Poets' way to decide things. Whittier extended the lead to 3-1 with a 6-0, 6-0 sweep at #5 and quickly pulled within one point of clinching after taking #1, but the Beavers stormed back. Caltech picked up wins from both Ruthwick at #3 (6-4, 6-1) and freshman Zixiao Li (Coppell, Texas / Coppell) at #6 (6-4, 6-2) to get back into the match, leaving freshman Andre Liu (Novi, Mich. / Novi) and Nguyen heading to third sets at #2 and #4. Nguyen was just barely beaten in his first set, 7-6 (5), but bounced back with a decisive 6-2 second, while Liu had taken his first, 6-4, but dropped the second, 6-3. Nguyen would go down quickly, however, as the match was decided (6-1). Liu continued to fight at #2 and forced a tiebreak, but succumbed 7-6 (3) to close the day.
Head Coach Mandy Gamble and the Beavers will have a chance to avenge the loss to the Poets (7-10, 3-4) on Friday, May 6 in Whittier at 3 p.m.