THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - The Whitman College men's tennis team finished off its Spring Break trip in thrilling yet heart-breaking fashion Wednesday afternoon, staging an impressive comeback in singles before dropping a razor-thin 5-4 decision to Cal Lutheran in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Cal Lutheran, ranked No. 12 nationally in NCAA Division III, led 2-1 after the opening set of doubles and stretched its lead to 4-1 by taking the first two decisions in singles.
That's when No. 19 Whitman kicked started a rally that fell just short as the last match finished.
After Sam Sadeghi started the comeback with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Ben Inchalik at No. 6 singles, Etienne Moshevich trimmed Whitman's deficit to 4-3 with a 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 triumph over Ray Worley at No. 2 singles.
Whitman then pulled even at 4-4 as Adriel Borshansky nailed down a 6-3, 3-6, 6-9 win over Cody Kowalczyk at No. 5 singles.
That left the final outcome resting on completion of the singles match at No. 3, where Whitman Andrew La Cava was locked in a three-set battle with Cal Lutheran junior Justin Wilson.
La Cava fought back to win the second set, squaring the match at one set apiece, and then worked his way to a 5-4 lead and 40-30 match point in the third. Wilson turned aside that match point, however, and the set soon moved to a tie-breaker, with Wilson prevailing 7-6 (7-4).
Moshevich teamed with Jeff Tolman to score Whitman's lone team in doubles, beating Wilson and Kowalczyk 9-8 (7-3) in the No. 2 slot.
The match was Whitman's sixth in as many days and completed its Spring Break trip to California.
Now 9-6 on the season, Whitman is off next week before resuming its pursuit of a fourth straight Northwest Conference title in early April.
Cal Lutheran 5, Whitman 4
SINGLES - Andrew Giuffrida, CLU, def. Conor Holton-Burke, Whit, 6-1, 6-2. Etienne Moshevich, Whit, def. Ray Worley, CLU, 1-6, 6-4, 6-3. Justin Wilson, CLU, def. Andrew La Cava, Whit, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7-4). Marcelo Sousa, CLU, def. Jeff Tolman, Whit, 6-3, 6-1. Adriel Borshansky, Whit, def. Cody Kowalczyk, CLU, 6-3, 3-6, 6-0. Sam Sadeghi, Whit, def. Ben Inchalik, CLU, 6-4, 6-1.
DOUBLES - Giuffride/Worley, CLU, def. Holton-Burke/La Cava, Whit, 8-2. Moshevich/Tolman, Whit, def. Wilson/Kowalczyk 9-8 (7-3). Sousa/Inchalik (CLU) def. Quin Miller/Matt Tesmond (Whit) 8-1.