With the match tied at 1-1, Cal’s Chase Melton came into the third set against Andre Almeada of Fresno City College looking to rebound from his second set loss and earn his first win in the Bears’ uniform.
With a score of 6-4, Melton did just that.
On Friday at the Fresno State Bulldog Classic, redshirt freshman Melton started Cal off with a win, his first of not only the weekend but also his career.
Melton continued the winning streak into the second round of singles, triumphing over the fifth seeded Daniel Sardu of Oregon in merely two sets — an impressive feat considering Melton was unseeded.
For three out of the four Bears players at the Wathen Tennis Center, Friday was the first time they ever suited up and officially competed for Cal. The Bears unfortunately did not make it to the final rounds of play on Sunday, but did pick up wins on both Friday and Saturday.
The purpose of this tournament was not necessarily to bring home the gold, but rather for the newer players to garner some experience and earn some potentially confidence-boosting wins.
“This is the time of year when we like to get competition to build on for the spring,” coach Peter Wright said. “Some will be good competition and some not as good but the point is that we continue to build and improve.”
Despite his impressive start, Melton fell in the singles quarterfinals on the second day, ending his play in the tournament.
In addition to Melton, both Andrew Scholnick and Andrew Pises, both true freshmen, earned their first formal victories. Scholnick’s win came in the form of a 7-5, 7-6 victory over Alex Golding of University of the Pacific in the first round of singles. He fell, however, in the second round to the Oregon Ducks’ Robin Cambier.
Seasoned senior team member Tommie Murphy paired up with the young Pises in doubles play. In the initial round, containing a field of 16 pairs, Murphy and Pises faced Cal Poly’s combo of Jordan Bridge and Marco Comuzzo. The Bears’ duo came out the victors with a score of 9-8, earning Pises his first career win.
Murphy and Pises conquered their doubles opponents yet again in the quarterfinal round but faced a loss in the semifinals at the hands of the second-seeded twosome of Cambier and Mullen, ending Cal’s run in the classic.
In the eyes of Wright, the team accomplished what it had originally set out to do in this tournament.
“Overall, this tournament was a great opportunity to see these guys play in their first competition of the year,” Wright said. “It was a good team effort and everyone picked up a win the first day.”