Courtesy of LC Athletics

Cruising to the California Clay

Summer Garrison

Tennis heads out on annual Spring Break road trip to California

By Peter Melling /// Sports Editor

Fresh off of their recent successes, the men’s and women’s tennis teams are headed to sunny southern California for spring break. However, this trip is not a vacation. Rather, it is an intense road trip against some of the toughest Division III schools in the country, which will push the Pioneers to their limits. How will they keep up their winning trends on the trip, and how will it shape the rest of the season?

Both teams are entering the road trip with recent hot streaks. The women’s team has won seven straight matches against Northwest Conference (NWC) opponents, while the men are coming off of a commanding 9-0 win against Willamette University.

On their victories, Kevin Ross (’16) said, “It’s been going really well. Right now, we’re 5-2, and we’re beating everyone except the top-tier teams. We lost to Pacific and George Fox by one point. The way that scoring works is that we take the season score. They beat us 5-4, and if beat them at home by 6-3, we’ll beat them by one point.”

The men’s and women’s teams are pleased with their progress so far this season, and they hope to use this road trip to test their team’s strength against some of the strongest Division III tennis teams in the country. The men’s team will play Chapman University (ranked 40th in the country), Pomona-Pitzer University (ranked 8th in the country) and Occidental College, while the women play UC Santa Cruz, California Lutheran University and Occidental College as well.

On going on her first LC tennis trip, Summer Garrison (’18) said, “I think that California’s DIII teams are a lot better than Oregon. They’re just at a higher level, DIII-wise, in California. I think it will be challenging, but this team is one of the best the school has had in the past couple of years, so I think we’re definitely a little ambitious.”

Ross, going into his third California trip, shared similar sentiments when he said, “I’m looking forward to bonding with the team. Our team is made up of a bunch of clowns and nerds, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Last year we had nine guys, and this year we have 16, so there’s a lot more going on. It’s definitely crazier than last year.”

The road trip will also be a great preparation tool for the final push of the season. The men will have matches against the top three teams in the NWC (Whitman College, Pacific University and George Fox University), while the women have matches against the other teams in their top three (Whitman and Linfield College).

On how the trip will affect the last games of the season, Garrison said, “I think if we get a couple of solid wins under our belt, we’ll be a lot more confident for Whitman and probably go to nationals.”

“Hopefully, the trip gets us prepared for our big three matches. The teams we play in LA are three of the best teams in the nation, so it’ll show us where we are compared to the rest of the nation,” Ross said.

The Pios look to carry their success through the California competition, and gear up for the final stretch of their seasons.

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