Upon rescheduling weekend play due to weather, the Cal Poly men’s tennis team (7-6) defeated Sacramento State 7-0, and University of San Francisco (USF) 4-3 at the Cal Poly Mustang Tennis Complex. The back-to-back victories have the Mustangs riding a four-match winning streak during their longest home stint of the year.
On Thursday, the Mustangs didn’t skip a beat when they stepped on the court to face the Sacramento State Hornets. Junior tandem Corey Pang and Ben Donovan collected their seventh doubles victory this season from the No. 1 position after allowing No. 3 sophomores Karl Enander and Dan Cardiff to capture the first point for Cal Poly.
Every member of Cal Poly’s team was in sync, from the start to finish of singles play. Out of the six singles courts, the Mustangs not only won every match, but they also succeeded in winning every set against the Hornets.
“On Thursday we played solid Mustang tennis,” junior Garrett Auproux said. “We made it look a lot easier than it was against a good team that we lost to last year.”
Against USF on Friday, the tables were turned when Cal Poly let its energy drop and allowed the doubles point to slip away, losing at the No. 1 and No. 3. For the first time in three matches, the Mustangs trailed 0-1 heading into singles play.
In an all-out team effort, the Mustangs headed into singles concentrating on their movement and keeping it simple without overthinking who stands on the other side of the net. At No. 5 singles, freshman Josh Ortlip cruised through his match and delivered the first point on the board to tie the overall score at 1-1.
The junior captains on the upper courts weren’t far behind. Cal Poly pushed forward with wins from Donovan at No. 1 singles and Pang at No. 3 singles. At No. 2, Auproux forced his match to a third set in a back-and-forth battle. Despite a streaky performance from both players, Auproux dominated his third set to decide the overall win over USF.
“Even though we let them get into the match a little bit today, we still found a way to pull it out,” Auproux said.
Auproux has been instrumental in the Mustang’s victories in the past two weeks in both singles and doubles play. Earlier in the week, for the second time at Cal Poly, Auproux was recognized as the Big West Men’s Tennis Athlete of the Week. The honor was followed by Auproux’s clinching perfomances in doubles and singles against No. 70 Pacific at the No. 2 positions.
“It’s always awesome to be recognized, but at end of the day this is an all around great team effort,” Auproux said. “I got lucky and put the last point on the board, so it looks good on paper, but I am only in this position because of my teammates.”
With a 5-1 record at home, Cal Poly is taking advantage of the opportunity to compete where they practice.
“It’s definitely easier to play in your house, where you practice every day,” Auproux said. “Our goal is to keep this momentum and energy up at home and keep this record going.”
Cal Poly’s next five matches also take place at home. The last match of the nine-match home stand, an April 3 matchup against Hawaii, represents the start of Big West Conference play for the Mustangs. As for next week, Cal Poly takes on UNLV on Saturday at 12 p.m.