Tennis seals new win record
The Eagles’ men’s tennis team had never finished the regular season with a record of .500 or better. Nor had they finished with over 10 wins.
However, with a 5-4 win over the Arizona Christian University Firestorm on April 9, the Eagles finished their regular season 11-11, breaking both program records in one fell swoop.
The match against Arizona proved as exciting as it gets, with the victor decided by the final singles court, which went to three sets. The Eagles also earned wins from their top two doubles teams, sophomore Lucas Lee on the second singles court, and sophomore David Garcia on the fifth singles court.
Sophomore Philip Westwood proved the hero of the match on the top singles court, facing Tyler Cawthorne from Arizona Christian. Westwood dropped the first set 4-6, came back and took the second 6-3, then barely pulled out the 7-6 third set victory. The third set went back and forth until 6-6, requiring a tiebreaker. Westwood went up early in the tiebreaker, but Cawthorne fought back to tie the score 5-5. However, Westwood would not be denied, and won two points in a row to win the tiebreaker 7-5, resulting in a 7-6 third set that secured the match win.
Willingness to grind
Lee and Garcia have been by far the most consistent performers all season in singles play, with Lee ending the regular season with a 14-6 record on singles. Those 14 singles wins in a season tied the record for wins Garcia set in the 2015 season.
“Lucas has done so well because he has an ability to win points in many different ways.” Worthington said. “He also has good offense in his serve, forehand and net game that allows him to put pressure on his opponents and win big points.”
Garcia ended the regular season just one win shy of tying his own record, as he finished 13-7. He still has playoffs to look forward to this season, so both Lee and Garcia have a possibility of breaking the record, depending on how well the team does.
“David has had a successful season because of his consistency and willingness to grind and make a lot of balls,” Worthington said. “He wears down his opponents both physically and mentally.”
Lee and Garcia highlighted Biola’s season, but they could not and did not do all the work themselves. Each match was determined based on the performance of the team as a whole, and each player did their part throughout the season.
“There are a lot of reasons for our success this season but there a few big ones that stand out,” Worthington said. “One is the experience our team has. Even though we are still a young team, most of our starters this season played a lot of matches last year. Another big reason is simply belief and confidence. Last is the work effort. We put in more time and training this whole year than any previous year before and it has shown up in our matches.”
With their 11-11 overall record and 4-5 Golden State Athletic Conference record, Biola earned themselves the No. 3 seed heading into the GSAC Championships that start on April 19 in Palm Desert, Calif.