PASADENA, Calif. (Mar. 18, 2018) – Rookie James Wei (Chappaqua, N.Y. / Horace Greeley) added ranked wins to his impressive freshman resume, first alongside doubles partner and fellow freshman Varun Shanker (Midland, Mich. / Midland Dow), then at second singles for the No. 35 Caltech men's tennis team at No. 30 University of Texas-Tyler on Sunday afternoon.
Wei and Shanker started the day having to overcome the 13th-best doubles pair in Division III and did so in a back and forth 9-8 match that ended on a high note when the freshmen blanked the home team, 7-0, in the deciding tiebreaker. Second doubles team, juniors Derik Nguyen (Anaheim, Calif. / Canyon) and Zixiao Li (Coppell, Texas / Coppell) took on a ranked team of their own in Tyler's No. 22 pairing. The juniors forced a tiebreaker, which had they come out on top of would have ultimately secured the Beavers another ranked team win. Sophomore Connor Soohoo (Redwood Shores, Calif. / Crystal Springs) and freshman Kevin Yu (Mason, Ohio / Cincinnati Country Day) came out on top in third doubles, 8-4, to give the Beavers the slim advantage prior to singles play.
The singles portion of the match saw the Beavers score two victories. Wei's win came in straight sets at second singles against the No. 38 player in the nation, 6-4, 6-1. Soohoo also picked up a victory in similar fashion, defeating UT-Tyler's sixth singles player, 6-0, 6-4. Two more singles matches went to three sets. Both Li and Nguyen went to three sets against their respective opponents further illustrating how close the Beavers came to picking up what would have been their second ranked win of the season.
Head Coach Mandy Gamble and the Beavers will have one more match in Texas when they travel to Austin College on Monday, Mar. 19.