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Men's Tennis Splits Spring Break Opening Matches

Zack AhYat

A four-match spring break trip to Southern California started for the Pacific Lutheran men's tennis team on Saturday with a split of two contests. The Lutes beat Hope International, 6-3, before falling to Occidental, 7-2.

The Occidental match was originally scheduled to be played on Sunday but was moved up one day.

Following Saturday's action, PLU is 5-5 this season. It has matches at Biola on March 26 and at Chapman on March 28.

PLU 6, Hope International 3

The Lutes started the long day by sweeping the doubles points on the way to their 6-3 win over Hope International, a NAIA program located in Fullerton, Calif. PLU's top doubles team of Zack AhYat and Taylor Dickey combined for a solid 8-5 win over HIU's Tulio Amaral and John-Douglas Owens, the the No. 2 squad of Spencer Herron and Neal Berg followed with a tight 9-7 triumph over Ivan Rashkov and Thiago Brito. The final doubles match wasn't close as Sam Angel and Reed Gunstone swept aside Tyler McDonald and Joshua Feichter, 8-0.

Singles play showed that Hope International is strong at the top of the ladder. Amaral beat AhYat 6-2, 6-2 at No. 1 and Rashkov topped Dickey 6-1, 6-4 at No. 2, before Owens held off PLU's Dan Cotton, 7-6 (5), 6-4, at the No. 3 match.

After that it was all PLU. Olson had a battle with Brito before winning 6-3, 4-6, 1-0 (10-8) at No. 4, and then Berg and Angel followed with easy straight-set wins over their opponents. Berg beat McDonald 6-2, 6-2, and Angel flew over Feichter, 6-0, 6-0.

Hope International is now 0-13 for the season.

Occidental 7, PLU 2

Occidental, like PLU a NCAA Division III program, was simply too deep for the Lutes.

AhYat was strong at the top for the Lutes. He teamed with Dickey to beat Jeremy Shapiro and Jordan Brown 8-5 at No. 1 doubles, and he came back later to top Kevin Siebs in the featured singles match, 6-3, 6-2.

Other than that, Oxy had its way, taking a pair of 8-2 doubles wins and rolling to straight set victories in four of the remaining five singles matches. Dickey took Brown to a super tiebreaker at No. 3 before dropping a 5-7, 6-2, 1-0 (10-8) decision.

- PLU -