SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - Senior Matt Solomon and sophomore Conor Holton-Burke posted big three-set victories in singles, but the Whitman College men's tennis team wasn't able to keep pace with top-ranked University of California-Santa Cruz in dropping a 6-3 decision here Sunday afternoon.
It was the Missionaries' second loss to the Banana Slugs this season, and it was also their second defeat of the day. Earlier here Sunday, red-hot Cal-Lutheran swept Whitman 9-0.
The Missionaries saw their season record dip to 14-3.
UC-Santa Cruz, the defending NCAA Division III national champions, improved to 15-5 with the victory over Whitman. The Banana Slugs also came up short against Cal Lutheran by a 5-4 score in a Saturday match. Cal Lutheran improved to 12-0 with Sunday's victory over the Whits.
With junior Etienne Moshevich nursing a sore shoulder, Whitman juggled its doubles lineup and picked up a team point at No. 3, where Holton-Burke teamed with senior Nadeem Kassam for an 8-6 victory over Banana Slug seniors Shaun Herry and Ryan Sass.
UC-Santa Cruz got the wins at No. 1 doubles, where Brian Pybas and Marc Vartabedian outpointed Solomon and freshman Jeff Tolman 8-2, and at No. 2 doubles, where Ian Stanley and Mark Koeing were 8-6 winners over senior Christoph Fuchs and junior Quin Miller.
In the showcase match at No. 1 singles, Solomon rallied for an impressive 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (8-6) triumph over Pybas, who holds a No. 3 regional ranking in singles.
Holton-Burke also rallied for his three-set victory at No. 5 singles, beating senior Aron Morrill 5-7, 6-3, 7-5.
Whitman's singles lineup, which was missing Fuchs (sore leg) as well as Moshevich, was unable to muster any more victories.
Junior Chris Bailey wasn't able to maintain a good start at No. 3 singles, falling 7-5, 6-0 to Koeing. Senior Jasper Follows lost in straight sets at No. 4 to Silvo Chiba.
Vartabedian, a Banana Slug, got the best of Tolman (6-2, 6-4) at No. 2 singles, and another Whitman freshman, Sam Sadeghi, lost 6-4, 6-2 to Andre Halabi at No. 6.
Whitman's loss to Cal-Lutheran snapped a 13-match Missionary winning streak. The most recent national rankings, released earlier this week, had Cal Lutheran at No. 10 and Whitman at No. 26.
Cal Lutheran got the early jump on Whitman by taking all three matches in doubles. But the real story came in singles, where the Kingsmen won a trio of three-set decisions, in addition to a close two-set battle in the No. 1 match.
Andrew Giuffrida, an NCAA Division I transfer from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, got the the win for Cal Lutheran at No. 1 singles with a 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) victory over Whitman's Matt Solomon.
Whitman came up short in three-set decisions at No. 3 singles, where Etienne Moshevich lost 4-6, 6-0, 6-4; at No. 4, where Chris Bailey fell 2-6, 6-2, 6-4; and at No. 6, where Conor Holton-Burke lost 7-6 (7-5), 5-7, 10-3.
Whitman's Jasper Follows dropped a 6-3, 6-4 decision at No. 5 singles, and Jeff Tolman stumbled 6-1, 6-0 at No. 2.
The best match in doubles came at No. 1, where Giuffrida and Ballou tallied an 8-5 victory over Solomon and Moshevich.
Whitman's Christoph Fuchs and Quin Miller fell 8-3 at No. 2 doubles. Tolman and Jake Cappel lost by the same score at No. 3.
Whitman concludes its Spring Break trip on Tuesday with a match at No. 18 Redlands.
SANTA CRUZ 6, WHITMAN 3
SINGLES - Matt Solomon, Whit, def Brian Pybas, SC, 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (8-6); Marc Vartabedian, SC, def Jeff Tolman, Whit, 6-2, 6-4; Erich Koening, Erich, SC, def Chris Bailey, Whit, 7-5, 6-0; Silvo Chiba, SC, def Jasper Follows, Whit, 6-0, 6-1; Conor Holton-Burke, Whit, def Aaron Morrill, SC, 5-7, 6-3, 7-5; Andre Halabi, SC, def Sam Sadeghi, Whit, 6-4, 6-2.
DOUBLES - Pybas-Vartabedian, SC, def Solomon-Tolman, Whit, 8-2; Ian Stanley-Koening, SC, def Quin Miller-Christoph Fuchs, Whit, 8-5; Holton-Burke, Conor-Nadeem Kassam, Whit, def Ryan Sass-Shaun Herry, SC, 8-6.
Team Scores - University of Santa Cruz 6, Whitman College 3.
CAL LUTHERAN 9, WHITMAN 0
SINGLES - Andrew Giuffrida, CL, def Matt Solomon, Whit, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4); Nick Ballou, CL, def Jeff Tolman, Whit, 6-1, 6-0; Ryan Lassila, CL, def. Etienne Moshevich, Whit, 4-6, 6-0, 6-4; Ray Worley, CL, def Chris Bailey, Whit, 2-6, 6-2, 6-3; John Karsant, CL, def Jasper Follows, Whit, 6-3, 6-4; Justin Wilson, CL, def Conor Holton-Burke, Whit, 7-6 (7-5), 5-7, 1-0 (10-3).
DOUBLES - Giuffrida-Ballou, CL, def Solomon-Moshevich, Whit, 8-5; Lassila-Karsant, CL, def Quin Miller-Christoph Fuchs, Whit, 8-3; Jordan Culpepper-Worley, CL, def Jeff Tolman-Jake Cappel, Whit, 8-3.
Team Scores - California Lutheran 9, Whitman 0.