Posted: Apr 07, 2018
REDLANDS, Calif. (Apr. 7, 2018) – Led by a stellar string of singles triumphs, the 36th-ranked Caltech men's tennis team earned its highest ranked win ever at No. 13 University of Redlands on Saturday afternoon.
Caltech's freshmen fueled the historic win, adding a slew of victories to what has the makings of an all-time great season for the Beavers. At the top of the lineup, freshman Varun Shanker (Midland, Mich. / Midland Dow) overcame some first-set adversity to knock off the No. 5 player in Division III, which has become the highest ranked singles victory in program history. Shanker pulled out the first set with a dominant 7-2 showing in the set-deciding tiebreaker before cruising 6-1 in the third set. Fellow freshman James Wei (Chappaqua, N.Y. / Horace Greeley) added another straight set second-singles victory to his impressive resume and now finds himself needing just one more singles win to tie junior teammate Zixiao Li's (Coppell, Texas / Coppell) record for single-season wins. Like Shanker, Wei knocked off a nationally-ranked player (42nd) and did so with a steady 6-4, 6-4 showing.
Sophomore Miha Valencic (Colleyville, Texas / Grapevine) needed a rally in the latter sets but pulled out a three-set win at fourth singles, winning the final two sets, 6-3, 6-4 to help ice the team win. Meanwhile, freshman Kevin Yu (Mason, Ohio / Cincinnati Country Day) dominated once again at fifth singles, winning the first set 6-0 before jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the second set before his opponent retired. The team win now has the Beavers firmly positioned behind two of the nation's top teams, No. 6 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges and No. 12 Pomona-Pitzer Colleges in the SCIAC standings with playoff implications looming large in the background heading into the team's final three regular season matches.
Head Coach Mandy Gamble and the Beavers will play their final away match of the regular season at Occidental College on Friday, Mar. 13 at 3 p.m.