Sagehens Soar Past No. 3 Athenas and No. 22 Beavers

After earning solid victories over three conference opponents (Redlands, Chapman, and Whittier) in early April, the Sagehens played back-to-back matches against two nationally-ranked SCIAC (Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) teams: the Caltech (California Institute of Technology) Beavers and the CMS (Claremont-Mudd-Scripps) Athenas.

We are very grateful to the friends, families, and fans who came to cheer us on in Claremont, and hope that those of you who tuned into the live stream enjoyed watching our matches. We’d also like to thank those of you who supported Pomona-Pitzer Athletics on National Student-Athlete Day (April 6). A total of $197,304 in funds were raised for Pomona-Pitzer Athletics and individual teams. Your donations helped us unlock a $15,000 challenge gift for the Pomona-Pitzer Men’s and Women’s Tennis Programs.

In preparation for the recent slate of back-to-back matches, Nina Ye ‘24 shared that the PPWT Team had adjusted the practice times to later in the evenings; had focused on doubles drilling and strategies; and had made time for stretching, rolling, and taking care of their bodies. In doing so, the Sagehens were able to prevent fatigue and injuries, and boost their confidence in doubles play.

Pomona-Pitzer vs. Caltech (9-0)

Before kicking off the doubles matches on Friday, April 15, Coach Mike Morgan gathered the Sagehens and Beavers together to celebrate the seniors on both teams. The PPWT Team’s three juniors—Patria Aziz ‘23, Janie Marcus ‘23, and Georgia Ryan ‘23—presented red roses to three members of the Caltech team (Michelle Hyun, Anna Tifrea, and Jennifer Yu). Afterward, the Hens honored this year’s seniors Melisha Dogra ‘22 and Maria Lyven ‘22, as well as recent graduate Jacinta Chen ‘21, with white roses.

Maria, who was recently recognized as SCIAC Athlete of the Week, organized a fundraiser for the Ukraine Global Crisis Relief Fund at the Pauley Tennis Complex. In honor of Maria and her family in Kyiv, members of the PPWT Team also wore blue and yellow ribbons, as well as pins with the Ukrainian flag.

The Sagehens went on to win all three doubles matches against a hard-hitting Caltech team. Maria and Nina beat their opponents 8-2 at No. 1 doubles. Over on the next court, Marissa Markey ‘25 and Angie Zhou ‘25 took down the Beavers’ No. 2 doubles team 8-5. At No. 3 doubles, Janie and Georgia won 8-2.

With all the momentum after doubles, the Hens swept all six singles matches. Alicia Carmona Cornejo ‘24 quickly defeated her opponent 6-2, 6-0 in the No. 6 singles match. Angie followed up on her doubles victory by defeating the Beavers’ No. 3 singles player 6-2, 6-2. Her partner Marissa then tallied a 6-3, 6-3 win at No. 4 singles. Maria beat her opponent 6-4, 6-2 in the No. 1 singles match. Nina and Janie rounded out the day, notching solid wins at No. 2 singles and No. 5 singles, respectively.

Pomona-Pitzer vs. CMS (7-2)

On Saturday, April 16, the Hens battled against the Athenas under bright lights at the Biszantz Family Tennis Center. Georgia and Janie defeated CMS’ Sena Selby and Sarah Bahsoun by the score of 8-4 at No. 3 doubles. On the next court, at No. 2 doubles, the Sagehens’ first-year duo of Marissa and Angie won 8-5 versus the Athena pair of Sydney Lee and Gabby Lee. Nina and Maria then beat Nikolina Batoshvili and Devon Wolfe 8-5 at No. 1 doubles.

Even with a 3-0 lead after doubles, every member of the PPWT Team continued to fight (and cheer!) for the six singles matches. At No. 6 singles, Georgia fell to Athena veteran Sarah Bahsoun 4-6, 3-6. Over on the third court, Nina added a fourth point to the Sagehens’ total with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over Audrey Yoon at No. 3 singles. Marissa clawed her way back into an exciting No. 4 singles match. After splitting sets with her CMS opponent, Marissa dropped the final set 2-6 to Ella Brissett. 

The remaining singles matches saw fierce competition from the Hens as well as the Athenas. Maria clinched the match for the PPWT Team by defeating Crystal Juan of CMS 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 in the No. 1 singles match. Janie and Angie followed up with thrilling wins within minutes of each other; our very own first-year Angie took down Athena senior Sydney Lee 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 at No. 2 singles, while PPWT junior Janie also defeated CMS sophomore Nikolina Batoshvili 7-6(5), 6-7(7), 10-4 at No. 5 singles.

After the match, Nina commented that “the energy was high and the whole place felt electric” during the Sixth Street Rivalry match. “It was probably one of the biggest crowds we’ve played in front of yet. We thrived off of the support while keeping our cool and focus. With our friends and families’ support, it almost felt like a PP [(Pomona-Pitzer)] home game! On top of that, having our men’s team there to support us and to hear them cheer while they played made it a really fun time,” she added.

Coach Mike Morgan’s Thoughts

“This was a fun weekend for Hens tennis, for sure. We made some improvements against a solid Caltech team. It was a blast to follow that match up with a packed house at the CMS courts the next night. The entire team’s ability to stay focused and present with a big crowd and against a very tough CMS team was impressive.  A lot of selflessness was shown from every player on the team.”

(Images courtesy of Pomona-Pitzer Athletics)

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