After an offseason full of preseason tournaments, including an invitational against the nation’s top 60 teams, the Cal Poly men’s tennis team (1-3) now begins dual match play.
The Mustangs took a tough 6-1 loss last Friday against No. 43 Washington (5-1) as they traveled to the Nordstrom Tennis Center in Seattle.
This rough start to their season did not hold the Mustangs back for long, as they excelled the court the next day against the Portland Pilots (1-1).
The Mustangs, ranked No. 57 in the nation, rallied on Saturday, coming back to beat Portland 4-3.
The Mustangs’ top-ranked doubles duo, juniors Ben Donovan and Corey Pang, led the doubles competition, beating the Pilots 6-4 in their match. Donovan and Pang provided the one doubles victory for Cal Poly as the Mustangs fell short against Portland in No. 2 and No. 3 doubles, 6-3 and 6-1, respectively.
Donovan, the Mustangs’ No. 2 singles player, made a strong showing in his marathon singles match. Falling short in his first set 7-6, Donovan bounced back to win his next two sets 6-3 and 6-4 to clinch the victory and secure the match win for the Mustangs.
Donovan’s two victories were instrumental in the Mustangs’ first victory of the season.
Pang, at No. 3 singles, also won his individual match, 6-4, 6-2.
Junior Garrett Auproux, ranked No. 1 in the Mustangs’ singles ladder, defeated his opponent in two sets, 6-4 and 6-3.
The Mustangs slipped in their No. 5 and 6 singles matches.
Sophomore Axel Damiens (No. 5) struggled in his first set, letting the his opponent take the set 6-2. Damiens fought a stronger fight in the second set, but still fell short 7-5, losing the overall match.
The Portland men’s tennis team managed to get another victory over the Mustangs in the No. 6 singles matchup. Freshman Aiku Shintani lost his first set against the Pilots, 1-6. He rallied back to win the second set 6-4, but struggled and lost his third and final set, 4-6.
The Mustangs return home this week, hosting two matches.
The team starts next weekend with their spring season home opener on Friday, taking on Saint Mary’s (1-1). The Mustangs also host No. 38 San Diego State (1-2) on Sunday. Both matches begin at 12 p.m.