CLAREMONT — Building on last year's turnaround season, four Occidental College men's tennis singles players and two doubles teams put together Oxy's "best showing in years" at the USTA/ITA West Regionals at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps over the weekend, according to head coach Brian Newhall.
"We battled for three straight days," Newhall said. "It was exciting to be playing on Sunday."
Jamie Grossman (Tiburon) led the Tigers improvement, nearly upsetting highly-touted Pomona-Pitzer star Max Sabel, the tourney's No. 9 seeded player.
"Jamie was up a set and serving 5-4 in the second, but Sabel stepped up his game and turned the match around," Newhall said. Grossman fell 2-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4.
Still it was a confidence booster and a sign of Grossman's improvement as he looks to move up the Tigers lineup this year.
Grossman ended up winning three straight before losing in the semifinals of the consolation bracket.
Stephen Perkins (Seattle) had a similar showing. After dropping his first round match to Cal Lutheran's Alex Nichols, Perkins rattled off three in-a-row, beating Cal Lutheran's Sean Handley and Grett Bufferd, and Pomona-Pitzer's Connor Sutton. He lost in the semifinals of the consolation bracket to UC Sand Diego's Eli Scandalis, the eventual consolation champion.
Perkins also teamed up with Jordan Brown (San Diego) to beat Redlands' John Brewer and Max Licona, 8-1.
"It was a great weekend for Oxy tennis," Newhall said. "We briefly broke into the top 30 last year, we have four months to get ready for the regular season and our guys are motivated and ready to work.
"The level of play we saw at the ITA's is very motivating. We have things headed in the right direction. … We are a program on the move."