A Wilderness Retreat

With the school calendar being pushed back a week everything this season seems very rushed. In past year’s I’ve always enjoyed taking the team on a backpacking or camping trip. However since we just finished our regional ITA tournament I felt it might be better to do a wilderness “retreat” vs a full-blown backpacking trip. The college owns a special wilderness area about 17 miles from campus that includes classroom space, 2 houses and numerous small cabins. Best of all its far enough into the mountains that cell phone signals don’t work!

My plan was get to the Wilderness Campus in the early evening so players could study a bit and then hang out in the evening. Unfortunately even the best plans sometimes go astray. One of the freshman who won’t be named *cough cough Parker cough cough* decided to show up an hour late for our trip. By the time we got up the Wilderness Campus it was already dark and time for dinner.

Since I knew I didn’t want to cook that night I spent most of the day cooking 2 pork shoulders to make pulled pork sandwiches (a team favorite).  I was actually surprised the guys almost completely demolished two full shoulders of pork (it’s a lot of meat!).

After dinner a few guys studied while others started into Settlers of Catan. And James decided to hit a sofa and go to sleep at 8pm. Who can blame him — cool mountain air coupled with the sound of nearby Mill Creek is enough to make anyone drift off to sleep. I shouldn’t give James too much grief since I was asleep only an hour after him.

Since the guys had destroyed the entire pulled pork I […]

USTA Campus Showdown = Alumni Showdown

Recently the USTA/ITA started a new program called the Campus Showdown. These events are one-day, open tennis events held on college campuses. I figured hosting a campus showdown would be a great way for some of the guys to play extra matches. I didn’t figure on the alumni getting wind of the event and coming out to play! Saturday’s Whitman Campus Showdown will feature 8 Whitman alumni, 6 current team members and 2 PNW junior players. So really this is a Whitman tennis alumni showdown! (more…)

Squirrel’s Season Stymied

Our foray into the national tournament was ended at the hands of the #3 team in the nation and host Claremont. In doubles we never got our teeth into #2 and #3 doubles and quickly went down breaks. All the doubles ended with a minute of each other..first off was #3 Christoph Fuchs/Conor Holton-Burke who lost 8-4, next off was our number #2 team of Nadeem Kassam/Jeffrey Tolman who also lost 8-4, our #1 team of Matt Solomon/Etienne Moshevich had a several chances to break but ended up losing 8-6.
Down 0-3 against the #3 team in the nation isn’t the way to start the singles. We had plenty of fight and spunk but couldn’t pull out any singles victories. At #3 ET was a few points from winning his match (6-2, 5-1) but we dropped two singles matches (#2 Jeffrey Tolman and #6 Conor Holton-Burke) sealing the match 0-5.
I’m beginning to feel a bit jinxed about the national tournament. Each of the past 4 years our loses have been at the hands of the eventual regional champion (yesterday CMS defeated #6 UC Santa Cruz to win the West Regional).
Interesting story for the trip. Because of the short turn around time between team selection and the start of play there wasn’t a flight available with enough seats for the entire team. To make the trip work Women’s coach John Hein drove us to Pasco where part of the team was going to fly Pasco->Seattle->Ontario and the other part was going to fly Pasco->Denver->Ontario. However the Seattle flight was canceled due to mechanical problems. We were able to get four members of the team onto the Denver flight but three players had to stay in Pasco. […]

Wrapping up the Ojai

Sorry for the lack of posts the past couple days. With individual tournaments the days are long (starting before 6am) and with players playing at different times and sites its pretty much none stop all day. Good news for the tournament is everyone won a match. Jeffrey started us off by winning against the #3 from Pomona 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. He was down 0-3 in the 3rd before rallying for the victory. Later in the day he lost to Willamette’s Josh Wong 6-4, 6-1. I was impressed with the play of Wong this weekend and I imagine I will see many Wong vs Tolman battles in the coming years. Nadeem lost his 1st match to the #5 from UCSC 6-3, 6-1. Matt had a bye in the 1st round then defeated a player from CMS, the #2 from Pomona (6-2, 4-6, 6-4) and then lost to the #3 from UC Santa Cruz in the quarters.
In doubles Nadeem and Jeff defeated a CMS team before losing to the #1 team from UC Santa Cruz (this team is probably the best tadem in the nation). Jeff and Nadeem played well and had chances to make it a pretty close match.
Our flights aren’t out until this evening so we currently hanging out Robert Rye ’08 (currently coaching at Chapman).

By |April 25th, 2010|2009 season, ojai|0 Comments

At the Ojai!

We are currently in Southern CA getting ready for the Ojai. The Ojai is a very special event..in fact I think it is the oldest amateur tournament in the nation. The tournament has draws for juniors, college players and even a pro-draw. Its a special playing opportunity for the Whitties. Tomorrow morning Matt Solomon (#4 seed), Jeffrey Tolman (#9 seed) and Nadeem Kassam start singles play. Later in the afternoon Jeffrey and Nadeem play doubles.
Here is a link to the singles draw
Here is a link to the doubles draw
I’ll try to twitter match updates during the day tomorrow.
Tonight was a very special night as we had the opportunity to have dinner with Nick Dupuis ’03. Nick just finished his PhD in Chemistry from UC Santa Barbara. Big news from Nick is his getting married this summer to his Whitman sweetheart! So big congratulations to Dr Dupuis!

By |April 23rd, 2010|2009 season, ojai|0 Comments

Woo Woo into the Conference Finals

Sorry this is going to be a very short note: its 11pm already and we have an early day tomorrow. This afternoon in the NWC semi finals we faced a very tough PLU team. Even though PLU went into the tournament as the #4 seed they were arguably one of the hottest teams in the conference. In the two weeks prior to the NWC tournament they defeated both Linfield and Willamette (#2 and #3 seeds).
Our match was scheduled to start at 3:30pm, but our womens team had a GREAT win over #2 seed Linfield. I’m so proud of the women and coach Hein’s effort. They are playing in the conference finals at noon tomorrow…will be fun since we will be playing together! (more…)

16-0 conference season

Yesterday we wrapped our regular season conference schedule with a double-header sweep of Whitworth in Spokane. Double-headers are typically associated with baseball but in an effort to save dates (and travel) we have been playing double-headers with Whitworth the past couple years .. alternating between Spokane and Walla Walla.
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Last home match of the year

Yesterday was the last home match for the Fighting Squirrels. Fittingly, the match was against the #2 team in the conference Linfield. We always know matches against Linfield are going to be intense affairs: they are well coached and play good doubles. Last month we defeated Linfield 7-2 on their home courts (losing at #1 doubles and #5 singles). That victory was a bit tainted as Linfield was missing their standout senior Kyle Anderson. So far this season Anderson has only lost to our own Matt Solomon (in the fall) and UC Santa Cruz #2 player (in 3 sets).
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Senior Day!!!!

Yesterday we honored our seven seniors before our home match against Pacific. To say these seniors have had an impact on Whitman and the tennis program is an understatement. They have set the bar incredibly high for any sports team at Whitman. These seven seniors have never lost a regular season conference team match (60+ and counting), have qualified for three straight NCAA III appearances, won two conference titles, been an ITA All-Academic team for three straight years and have a team GPA around a 3.5!
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Tough double header!

A bit of a late post but I didn’t have internet access yesterday so couldn’t provide an update of our matches. Our day on Sunday will go down as one of the toughest days in DIII tennis. Playing one top ranked team in a weekend is tough. Playing two top ranked teams in a weekend is a physical and mental grind. Playing three top teams is akin to playing at the national tournament. At least at the national tournament you only play 1 match per day. Not only did we play 3 top 20 teams in 24 hours we also played the #1 and #2 teams in the nation BACK-TO-BACK!
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