CLAREMONT, Calif. (Oct. 4, 2015) – Freshman Julia Reisler (Dallas, Texas / Green Hill School) reached the semifinals of the consolation bracket at the USTA/ITA Division III West Regional Championships for the first time in Caltech women's tennis history as a quintet of Beavers competed in the weekend tournament.
Junior Sophia Chen (Newport Beach, Calif. / Redondo Union) and freshman Kana Moriyama (Redmond, Wash. / Redmond) kicked things off on Friday morning with wins over SCIAC foes from the University of La Verne and Whittier College. Chen topped ULV junior Areli Martinez, 6-3, 6-1, while Moriyama rallied from a tiebreak loss in the first set to edge out Whittier #2 singles junior Gabi Etchegaray, 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-0. Both would fall in the next round, with Chen going down 6-0, 6-3 to Pomona-Pitzer Colleges #6 seed and four-star freshman Caroline Casper – a semifinalist in the doubles draw – and Moriyama succumbing to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges #9 seed and #6 singles sophomore Bria Smith, 6-2, 6-1. The Beavers bowed out of the tournament in the second consolation draw by mirror 6-0, 6-2 and 6-2, 6-0 scores at the hands of University of Redlands junior Emily Murnin and Cal Lutheran University freshman Gianna Cupo.
Sophomore Vinci Chen (Austin, Texas / Westwood) and freshman Cece Andrews (Orinda, Calif. / Miramonte) were swept by a pair of very tough opponents in Pomona-Pitzer #9 seed and #4 singles shopomore Grace Hruska and three-star CMS freshman Jessie Cruz, respectively. Their luck did not improve in the consolation bracket, with Chen falling to ULV freshman Madison Madewell (6-0, 6-2) and Andrews going down to Pomona-Pitzer #5 singles sophomore Emily Chen (6-1, 6-0).
Reisler, meanwhile, faced the toughest draw in former four-star Pomona-Pitzer sophomore and second consolation bracket favorite Emily Kuo, who came out on top, 6-1, 6-1. The Caltech rookie was not fazed, however, as she went on to make the deepest run in program history through the first consolation bracket. Reisler started by pulling an upset against CMS sophomore Lauren Livingston – a regular in the Athenas' doubles lineup as a freshman – with a thrilling two-tiebreak superbreaker, 6-7 (6), 7-6 (8), 10-8. Reisler then steamrolled Redlands senior Alyssa Gilbert, 6-1, 6-2, and recovered from a brief lapse to cruise through another superbreaker against Pomona-Pitzer rookie Jessica Folsom, 6-3, 2-6, 10-1 before finally ending her brilliant run in the semifinals against the eventual champion, Sagehens senior Marie Fleming (6-2, 6-0).
The Beavers' success translated to doubles as well, with Moriyama/Reisler pairing up to take three games against eventual runner-up #3 seed Chen/Maryann Zhao of Pomona-Pitzer. The duo then cruised to an 8-2 victory over a doubles team from Mills College in the first consolation draw and finished up with an 8-3 defeat to the eventual champions, Chapman University freshman Nicole Fouts and senior Andrea Hammer. Sophia and Vinci Chen also teamed up, falling 8-0 to the #3-seeded Saghens duo of Casper/#1 singles senior Lea Lynn Yen.
"I was so thrilled with our performance this weekend," Head Coach Mandy Gamble said. "This was easily our best tournament ever – we've had some individual successes in the past, but never as deep a run as Julia or as many wins and competitive matches overall. We're excited to get to work ahead of the spring."
Gamble and the beavers open the 2016 season at home on Sunday, Jan. 31 at 11 a.m.