Despite coming off a promising performance last weekend, the Cal men’s tennis team was plagued with injuries and other misfortunes while competing in this weekend’s St. Mary’s Gael Classic.
Only four Bears players, including two freshmen, were in attendance at the tournament.
Junior Riki McLachlan reached the furthest point of any of the four team members present at the tournament. He entered the singles quarterfinal after a first round bye and then defeated UCLA’s Michael Hui in the second round with a score of 6-1, 6-3.
The quarterfinal was a hard-fought match that lasted three and a half hours, significantly longer than typical tennis matches. The contest was forced into three sets, with the last two going into tie-breakers.
In the end, McLachlan was defeated by Nico Vinel of Santa Clara and was unable to move on to the semifinals.
The other members of the Bears’ squad were not as successful as McLachlan. Freshman Andrew Pises teamed up with McLachlan in doubles. The duo lost in the first round of play and, as a result, entered the doubles consolation round. The two progressed to the quarterfinal round, which they won 8-5 over Stefan Loop and Xavier Smith from Fresno Pacific.
Pises, however, had injured his wrist during play and coach Peter Wright made the call that the duo should pull out of the tournament.
True freshman Andrew Scholnick experienced hip problems and also withdrew from competition.
“They were nothing serious, just minor little injuries that were getting pretty tough on them in the matches,” Wright said. “We didn’t want to hurt them anymore especially because we are looking towards the spring and we didn’t want to have any types of issues going forwards.”
While Tommie Murphy did not have any injuries to contend with, he still lost in the singles round of 16 and the doubles round of 16 with his partner, Scholnick.
Fortunately for the Bears, the St. Mary’s Gael Classic does not determine the team’s regular season rank. Last month’s All-American Championship and next weekend’s National Indoor Championships are two preseason events that do.
It is clear that the team did not produce a particularly spectacular showing in one of the last tournaments of preseason and that the incurred injuries may be a negative omen. Nonetheless, the Bears have plenty of time to recover mentally and physically before the start of spring.