You win some, you lose some.
For Cal men’s tennis, this weekend was one of both victory and loss. For the victory, the Bears beat San Diego by a score of 5-2, extending their record to 7-2, while the Toreros dropped to 7-4. The Bears managed to climb back to victory in singles after losing the doubles point to San Diego. Junior Lucas Magnaudet clinched the victory for the blue and gold with his win over Neo Niedner.
“We were able to recover in singles really well, the guys picked it up tremendously,” said head coach Kris Kwinta. “They showed a lot of grit and fight. As a coach, that’s all you want to see: resilience, problem-solving and toughness.”
Kwinta added that Cal losing the doubles point was “shocking,” given that the Bears have grown accustomed to winning it so far this season. Nevertheless, Kwinta was happy with the overall performance.
Following their victory over San Diego on Thursday afternoon, the Bears headed to La Jolla to compete at the Pacific Coast Men’s Doubles Championship. Fielding multiple injuries and playing on foreign courts, the Bears headed into an uphill battle. Perhaps the momentum from San Diego would carry over to the tournament.
It did not.
The Cal duo of Siddhant Banthia and Carl Emil Overbeck, despite being the third seed, only made it to the round of 16. Other Cal duos also underperformed.
Fourth seed Yuta Kikuchi and Magnaudet dropped in the round of 32 after winning their first match, while 17th seed Derrick Chin and John Kim lost their first round. Chin and Kim’s opponents in the first round of the consolation draw advanced with a walkover due to a Cal injury.
“We still tried to compete. (Banthia) and Carl (Overbeck) won a couple matches, but definitely below our ability,” Kwinta said. “The last time the Bears won (this tournament) was in 1980, so it’s been a while.”
Kwinta added that while he would not view La Jolla as an indicator for how the team will do later on in the season, he believes the team needs to stay “disciplined” during the beginning of doubles.
Overbeck, who retired against USF due to injury roughly a week ago, said his elbow pain has been bothering him in the serve, but that he is working with a trainer and will soon be back to “100%.” Overbeck said he enjoyed playing alongside his partner Banthia but that there are a few things the duo will need to iron out before the next matches.
“Sometimes, we tend to drop a bit in energy, which is one of the most important things in doubles,” Overbeck said. “That’s one of the things we need to work on. And then it’s just cleaning up a few details here and there.”
Kwinta echoed these sentiments, stating the team’s energy tends to waver in that sometimes the team has “amazing” energy, while other days it may be “nonexistent.” Kwinta cited that the team’s energy was poor against San Diego but that it returned once the team entered the second half of the match.
Regarding the team’s injuries, Kwinta said all top players must deal with injury.
“Sports are all about managing injury, pain, blisters,” Kwinta said. “It’s no excuse. We were able to overcome them in some cases, and in others not. It is what it is.”
In the next seven days, the Bears will have four different matchups. They are slated to play No. 11 Columbia on March 13, No. 75 SMU on March 15, No. 36 Arizona State on March 17 and No. 17 Arizona on March 19.