Sophomore Corrado Summaria eyes a forehand Jan. 18 against Santa Clara.
Photos courtesy of Catt Ott
The Waves defeated the Gauchos 4–3 at Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center. Senior captain Adrian Oetzbach secured the win by defeating junior opponent Victor Krustev 7–6, 6–2 on court two to secure the match.
“We lost to UCSB at their place last year pretty badly,” Oetzbach said. “We as a team wanted to get the win this time, and personally, I just wanted to contribute in doubles as well as singles. I think we were the better team overall.”
“We just wanted to play with a lot of energy [by] motivating the other two courts and our teammates to play better,” Oetzbach said. “I think that my teammates and doubles partner did a really good job at being loud and vocal and energized.”
Pepperdine’s goal going into the match was for the newer players to gain more experience before the NCAA Tournament as well as to make a comeback from their 0–7 loss against UCSB in the 2018–2019 season.
“We were looking for some of our younger guys to get more experience and to try to play a complete match where we competed well at all nine spots,” Head Coach Adam Schaechterle said. “I think we improved and came closer to that goal, but we still have a lot of work to do as we continue the season.”
The Waves opened the 2020 dual season by winning the matches against both West Coast Conference opponents Santa Clara University 5–0 and University of San Francisco 4–2. Pepperdine also came out victorious against Sacramento State 7–0 and UCSB 4–3, all matches at home.
“As a team, we’re looking to get in top 25 teams in the nation,” sophomore Corrado Summaria said. “We are also looking to win the conference and enter into the NCAA Final.”
In the 2018–2019 season, Men’s Tennis went 11–13 for a winning percentage of 45.8% but won eight of the 13 matches at home. They finished 5–4 in the WCC but hope to improve their overall wins in this upcoming season.
“We want to improve and see how good we can be in May when the NCAA Tournament comes around,” Schaechterle said. “I think we’ve already had some positive moments. … We’re seeing some encouraging signs, but far more important for us is that we continue to focus on each individual guy developing and being as efficient as they can in their improvement.”
Seven of the nine players on the team are underclassmen, three of them freshmen. While a young team, Schaechterle relies on the freshmen to win conference matches and to continue their excellence, Summaria said.
“The freshmen who were just recruited are proving that they care and understand the values of the program and of the team,” Summaria said. “They’re doing a really good job at being respectful and putting effort and bringing positivity, which makes everyone better.”
Oetzbach said their greatest competition will be the match against University of San Diego on Apr. 19 in San Diego.
“The match against San Diego is still some time away, but we are not going to change our system dramatically,” Oetzbach said. “We are going to try to come out with good energy and give it our all and embrace the battle.”
“Our culture has gotten so much better than last season that, at this point, I think everyone on the team is aware that we’re a much better team, much better group and a much better culture,” Schaechterle said. “So really, I think at this point our focus has shifted away from just being better than last year and to reach a lot higher.”
The Waves encourage everyone to support them as they take on the University of Arizona at home Mar. 12.
Follow Taylor Gather on Twitter @taylorgather or contact her via email: firstname.lastname@example.org