With just four West Coast Conference matches to play and a total of five in the season, Pacific men's tennis returns home to open up an important four-match homestand that can jump-start a run to the WCC Championship.
Just six teams make the cut for the WCC Championships in Claremont from April 24-27, and the Tigers, (4-13, 1-4 WCC) currently stand in eighth place in the WCC. However, three of the four remaining West Coast Conference matches for the Tigers come at the Eve Zimmerman Tennis Center and two of those matches come against teams situated near the Tigers in the standings.
This weekend, the Tigers take on Saint Mary's (3-13, 1-4 WCC) on Saturday at 1 p.m. The Gaels are tied with the Tigers in eight. A win for Pacific this weekend could see the Tigers climb into seventh depending on what happens in Portland's matches against Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine.
On Sunday, the Tigers will wrap up their non-conference slate with a contest against Cal Poly (9-6, 1-0 Big West) at noon. That match was rescheduled from earlier this year.
For the Tigers, the team is in a tough stretch in which they've won one of their last eight matches, but two wins this weekend could change the team's fortunes for the better. Juniors Tadiwa Chinamo and Akram El Sallaly have been the Tigers' most consistent players this year. In singles, both have winning records; Chinamo is 8-6 with the bulk of his matches coming at No. 3 singles. El Sallaly is 9-7. The bulk of his matches have come at No. 4 singles where he has gone. 7-5. Chinamo has won four-straight matches in singles play.
In doubles, it is Chinamo and El Sallaly that lead the charge for Pacific as well. They've lost two-straight matches but were back-to-back West Coast Conference Doubles Team of the Week recipients on March 19 and 26. They're 6-3 and apart from Freshman Josef Southcombe and junior Nathan Hampton, are the only Tigers with winning records in doubles play.
MATCH DAY INFO
Saturday, April 6 | 1 p.m.
Saint Mary's at Pacific
Eve Zimmerman Tennis Center
Weather | AM showers lead way to overcast (40% chance of Precipitation) | High of 67, low of 52
Sunday, April 7 | 12 p.m.
Cal Poly at Pacific
Eve Zimmerman Tennis Center
Weather | Cloudy (10% chance of precipitation) | Low of 52
Scouting the Gaels
Saint Mary's is coming off of a month of March in which it went 2-8 in its matches. Its wins came over Army, 5-2 and San Francisco, 4-3. The Gaels take on Santa Clara in a match on Thursday in Moraga before coming to Stockton to face the Tigers.
The Gaels have combined to go 24-60 in singles matches and 9-33 in doubles matches. Damon Kesaris is 6-4 for Saint Mary's at No. 1 singles. He is the only Gael with a winning record in singles. In doubles, Daniel Krutik and David Abfalter are the only duos with a winning record. They're 4-2 overall and 3-2 at No. 3 doubles.
Scouting the Mustangs
When Cal Poly takes on Pacific on Sunday, the Mustangs will be wrapping up a stretch of three matches in four days. They take on No. 12 Stanford on Thursday UC Davis on Saturday.
Cal Poly played some great tennis in the month of March winning all but one of their seven matches. They defeated No. 50 Utah on March 16, 5-2 and closed the month out with back-to-back wins over Utah State and UC Irvine. The lone loss came to New Mexico, 5-2.
In doubles, the Mustangs are just 17-24, but like the Tigers, have a strong duo at No. 1 doubles. Antoine Noel and Gary Vardanyan are 6-1 and have won six-straight matches. In singles, they've combined to go 47-31 and have winning records on every court except No. 6. Alex Stater has won eight-straight matches with the bulk of his success coming at No. 4 singles. Josh Ortlip, Cal Poly's No. 1, has won two-straight matches and Noel, who is 6-2 at No. 2, has also won two-straight matches.