VENTURA, Calif. (Apr. 25, 2019) – Several highly ranked individual players on the No. 20 Caltech women's tennis and No. 25 men's teams will look to solidify their standing among the region's elite at The 119th Ojai Valley Tournament in their final tune-up of the season before next weekend's SCIAC Postseason Tournaments.
Senior Kana Moriyama (Redmond, Wash. / Redmond) will be the first Beaver to take the courts on Thursday morning. The reigning SCIAC Athlete of the Week, and third-ranked singles player in the draw, she is set to face California Lutheran University's fifth singles player Carolina Groff Hinojosa with another pair of unranked opponents in the opposite pod. Her toughest test should arrive in the third round, where she could face UC Santa Cruz's #8 seed Ashley Isaac, who last matched up against a pair of Beavers in her consolation-bracket-winning run at the 2018 Fall ITAs. Should she make it through to the semifinals, #2 seed Lilijana Peters-Semak of CLU will likely await in what would be a thrilling rematch of top singles players from three weeks prior, which the latter won 6-3, 7-5.
Rookie Anna Tifrea (Fullerton, Calif. / Troy) makes her debut as the tournament's fourth seed, which puts her (the West region's 17th-ranked player) on trajectory to face #5 seed and 21st-ranked Zoe Kaffen from Trinity (Texas) University in the third round. Sophomore Ankita Roychoudhury (Madison, Conn. / Daniel Hand) will have a tough test in the first round against Robin Pashek, Willamette University's second singles player, and an even sterner test should she advance to the second round, where #7 CLU's Christie Kurdys, the region's 24th-ranked singles player, likely will await.
Moriyama and Tifrea will team for the doubles draw as well, where they have been awarded the #3 seed and will be eyeing a semifinal matchup against #2 Esther Bowers and Mariana Quetzeri from Southwestern University.
Sophomore Varun Shanker (Midland, Mich. / Midland Dow) enters the tournament as the first-overall seed but will have his work cut out the entirety of the tournament. His run begins with a first-round matchup against Yaroslav Yanin, UCSC's fourth singles player, with a SCIAC second-singles foe next up in either Whittier College's Thomas Koszowski or Occidental College's David Zhang, both of whom fell to teammate James Wei (Chappaqua, N.Y. / Horace Greeley) in the past couple weeks. Southwestern's Alexis Dimanche, the #6 seed and eighth-ranked player in the region, will have the quarterfinals circled as an opportunity to solidify a potential NCAA individual bid, but will have to survive a second-round matchup against another pair of strong SCIAC players in second-ranked doubles team member Brad Cummins (Redlands) and Ransom Braaten (CLU).
Meanwhile, the heavy favorite to reach the other side of a potential semifinal match is the #4 seed from Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges, who has finished as NCAA national runner-up and a semifinalist the first two years of his career. Junior Miha Valencic (Colleyville, Texas / Grapevine) will be hoping to keep Parodi from reaching Shanker, however, as he could have the opportunity to square off against his accomplished classmate in the second round if he can spring the upset on #7 seed Josh Gearou (Pomona-Pitzer Colleges), who currently ranks 13th in the West but recently suffered a three-set defeat to Wei.
Riding another hot streak entering the tournament, Wei should have a rare opportunity to challenge a SCIAC top singles player in the second round, where he can expect to meet Pomona-Pitzer's Jed Kronenberg, who suffered an excruciating three-set loss to Shanker two weeks ago. He also will team with Shanker in doubles, where the duo enters as the #3 seed and will face Whittier's second team that just dropped a tiebreaker to senior Derik Nguyen (Anaheim, Calif. / Canyon) and freshman Patryk Kozlowski (Irvine, Calif. / University High) this past weekend. A likely rematch with Redlands' top team of Cummins and Brysl Libao looms in the semifinals, where the Beavers pairing can avenge their Mar. 30 defeat. Nguyen and classmate Zixiao Li (Coppell, Texas / Coppell) will compete as well and have quite the opportunity awaiting them in UCSC top duo #4 seed Chad LeDuff/Ryan Dugan, who are ranked fifth in the region and essentially are trying to play their way into an NCAA bid.
The women begin competition early Thursday morning with play running through Saturday, while the men's tournament takes place from Friday through Sunday. All Thursday and Friday matches will be played at the Pierpont Racquet Club, while Saturday and Sunday will be contested at Libbey Park in Ojai.
(3) Moriyama d. Hinojosa (CLU), 6-0, 6-1
Roychoudhury d. Pashek (Willamette), 6-0, 6-1
(4) Tifrea d. Taylor (CLU), 6-1, 6-0
(3) Moriyama d. Quetzari (Southwestern), 4-6, 6-0, 6-2
(4) Tifrea vs. Fouts (CU), 6-3, 6-1
Kurdys (CLU) d. Roychoudhury, 6-2, 6-2
(3) Moriyama/Tifrea d. Wolber-Wright (Oxy), 6-0, 6-2
(1) Shanker d. Yanin (UCSC), 6-1, 6-0
Valencic d. #13 J. Gearou (P-P), 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (1)
Wei d. Dulthummon (S'western), 6-2, 7-6
(1) Shanker d. Zhang (Oxy), 4-6, 6-0, 6-2
Valencic d. Saragoza (LIN), 0-6, 6-3, 6-2
(4) Dugan/LeDuff (UCSC) vs. Li/Nguyen, 8-3
(3) Shanker/Wei vs. Der Veer/Yanuck (WC), 4:30pm
(3) Moriyama d. Alvarez (CLU), 6-3, 7-5
(5) Kaffen (TRI) d. (4) Tifrea, 6-2, 6-2
(3) Moriyama/Tifrea d. Fouts/Trofimova (CU), 6-2, 6-1
(1) Shanker vs. (6) Dimanche (SW), 9am
Valencic vs. (4) Parodi (CMS), 9am
(3) Moriyama vs. Kaffen (TRI), 11am
(3) Moriyama/Tifrea vs. (2) Bowers/Quetzeri (SW), 2pm
Nguyen/Li vs. Derrick/Zhang (Oxy)