WHITTIER, Calif. – The Haverford College men's tennis team was edged out by Whittier College, 5-4, in an inter-regional battle of ranked teams. The Fords entered the match with the No. 11 ranking in the Atlantic South while the Poets were the 10th ranked team in the West Region. The matchup certainly lived up to the ranking as five of the six singles matches featured third sets, extra points, or tie breaks. However, Whittier was able to prevail in four singles matches to come away with the hard-fought victory.
In a tightly contested battle throughout the afternoon and early evening, the Fords nearly came away with a sweep of the doubles. In the No. 1 position, Josh Moskovitz and Dais Nakayama were in another close match after evenly splitting the first 16 games. Nevertheless, the Fords' top duo controlled the tiebreak by winning seven of the eight points to claim that team point. The win was also their first as a pairing this spring.
David Kong and Eli Phelps secured the No. 2 doubles match for the Fords with an 8-5 win. That win was also their first of the spring together as a doubles team. Haverford's No. 3 team of Nick Sweeney and Raja Arul raced out to a 5-4 lead at No. 3 doubles. However, the Poets salvaged one of the doubles points with an 8-6 comeback win in that position.
Doubling up their success from the tiebreak in doubles, both Moskovitz and Nakayama prevailed in three sets to put the Fords within a point of victory. In the No. 1 position, Moskovitz forced a third set with a 6-3 win during the second. From there, the sophomore rolled to a 6-1 win in the deciding set. Nakayama also forced his decisive set with a win in the second, 6-4. He too then cruised to victory with a 6-2 win in the third set.
The top three singles matches all went to a third set with the Poets claiming the win in the No. 3 position. Kevin Yan jumped out early in his match for the Fords with a 6-3 set win to start before his opponent rallied in the final two sets. Eli Phelps looked to be on his way to forcing a third set in his No. 4 singles match, but his opponent prevailed with an 8-6 advantage in the second set tiebreak. The Poets also got wins at Nos. 5 and 6 singles to seal the victory. Sweeney forced extra games in both of his sets at No. 6, but fell by identical 7-5 scores in both. Ishaan Prinz won four games at the No. 5 position.
Wednesday's match wrapped up the competition schedule for the Fords in California. When they return to action back east, the Fords will be at home against Centre (Tues., Mar. 21) and No. 19 Kalamazoo (Wed., Mar. 22). Those matches will be the final preparations before the Centennial Conference season gets underway at the end of the month.