The Cal men’s tennis team was scheduled to play its first match of the Pac-12 Championships Thursday at 11 a.m.
Mother Nature had other plans for the Bears.
As the Ojai, Calif. sun began to sink into the horizon, Cal and Washington finally finished their 8-hour long match at 7:18 p.m. with a 4-3 victory to the Bears. Despite three rain delays that lasted at most two hours, the match trudged on while referees and Pac-12 officials flirted with the idea of postponing the tilt to Friday.
In the middle of the delays, both squads conditioned themselves with healthy food and energy drinks to not let their fitness rust away.
“Teams normally come out flat after rain delays,” Cal coach Peter Wright said. “Both Cal and Washington came out firing after each delay.”
Despite an unpredictable Mother Nature, both sides produced a nail-biter that came down to the last point. Tied 3-3, sophomore Ben McLachlan defeated No. 22 Kyle McMorrow in the third set to clinch the match and the Cal victory.
McLachlan made the most of his top court debut by countering McMorrow’s hard serves and playing close to the net.
“It was a lot of tension (on the court),” McLachlan said. “(McMorrow) is a big server, so it was hard to return his balls.”
Fourth-seeded Cal got off to a good start, winning the doubles point. With the No. 5 partnership of Nick Andrews and Christoffer Konigsfeldt playing the top court, the Bears had a strong advantage in the doubles game.
But as Cal was about to continue their solid doubles performance into singles, rain disrupted play. When both squads emerged out of their tents, the Huskies took the first singles point to level the score, 1-1.
From here until McLachlan’s victory in the last set, both Cal and Washington traded points back and forth. When the Bears took a 3-2 win on the fifth court, the Huskies quickly bit back, tying the score once again at 3-3.
After a long match tonight, Cal needs to refresh and rewind for Friday. Barring any more showers in Ojai, the Bears are scheduled to play top-seeded UCLA.