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Knights Tennis gets on the board amidst their most difficult season

It was long time coming, but Shasta College’s men’s tennis team finally got their first win of the season this past Tuesday April 2nd in their final match of the season before the conference tournament.

The Knights beat the Folsom Lake Falcons 5-4 in a match that was spread over two separate days due to it being postponed the first day when rain caused the rescheduling of a day to continue where this match left off: the Knights leading 3-0 after doubles play with singles already started.

On April 2nd, the weather was pristine: a perfect day for tennis. The Knights continued where they left off, but with Tim Li and Rion Loader absent, and the match now at 3-2. Jacjie Cai dropped his singles match to put the match at 3-3.

Chris Presnell at #1 singles dispatched his opponent to put the Knights ahead 4-3 before Matt Miller clinched the match at #2 singles with a win despite a shaky performance. Denys Bubenov later dropped his tough three-setter for a 5-4 final score.

Although the Knights won, this might be the epitome of the 2013 season, a difficult season for the Knights and Coach Frank Gutierrez, the most difficult of any of his 28 seasons in fact, “This is the hardest year I’ve had out here, but you’re gonna have those every once in awhile, you’re going to have one of those years.” Long gone are the successful days of the 1980s and 1990s when state championship berths and Nor-Cal berths were routine for Knights players. Nowadays, there is trouble finding six players to play.

One reason this year was his health, which caused him to sit out the fall semester tennis class. Usually get a couple of players for the spring season from that very class. “This year, I thought it would be easier to get more players. We had some girls in there that I think could have done pretty good” Gutierrez said after practice one day.

The men’s team last season had a competent roster of eight players and compiled a 5-7 overall record (3-7 conference record). This year, the Knights only have seven players and this match against Folsom was the first one all season where at least the top six had been present.

Returning sophomore Evan Brahms has missed the entire season due to a neck and back injury, although he made his return to the court this week in the conference championships down in Sacramento. Freshmen Tim Li, Rion Loader and Denys Bubenov have all missed matches due to class demands along with returning sophomore Matt Miller, a chemical engineering major.

There is another point when mentioning the Knights Men’s team not having a top-six for all but one match: the removal of the TBA class. The TBA class was the class an athlete took if a class they already had conflicted with a team’s practice schedule; however this was removed just this past year and one of the players who played on the team last year (on a personal note, that player is me) was not able to play.

Nevertheless, the Knights competed at the conference championships last week despite all of this and did very well, as they will be sending five players to the NorCal Regional Championships in Ojai later this month. They are Chris Presnell, the doubles team of Matt Miller and Evan Brahms and the doubles team of Shelby Richmond and Taylor Hanson.

 

Written By: Patrick Carr

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