Waves senior Tim Zeitvogel roars after winning a point against Harvard’s Harris Walker on Thursday, March 17, at the Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center. Zeitvogel won the match 7-5, 7-6 (3) and the Waves knocked off the Crimson 4-3. Photos by Denver Patterson
“Those are competitive matches, and we want to be in those situations,” Zeitvogel said. “Those situations show us where our weaknesses are, and where we can improve. So for me personally — and I think that’s also for a lot of guys here — it’s not about winning, it’s about learning.”
The loss against Texas snapped a five-match winning streak and previously-undefeated home record for the Waves.
“[I’m] grateful we’re at a point in the season where a loss doesn’t end the season,” Head Coach Adam Schaechterle said. “The opportunities — not just as a team to learn, but individually match by match — playing these elite top-10, top-15 programs, gives every guy in our team a chance to find out where they need growth.”
The win against the Crimson avenged a neutral-site loss for the Waves on Jan. 29 during the ITA Kickoff Weekend.
Waves Overcome 2-0 Deficit to Upset No. 10 Crimson
Thursday’s match got off to a rocky start for the Waves when they dropped the doubles point and then Harvard took court six. Daniel Milavsky was leading junior Eric Hadigian 6-1, 5-0 when Hadigian retired from the match.
Schaechterle said Hadigian was not injured when he retired, but it was a “tough day.”
“Eric’s a guy that we’re going to have to rely on down the stretch, and he’s just learning,” Schaechterle said. “Like all these guys, they’re college guys that have a lot in their lives.”
Summaria quickly defeated Steven Sun 6-2, 6-4 on court five to get the Waves on the board. Summaria has not dropped a singles match since Feb. 6.
“I’m just focusing on the opponents I have on the other side of the net; it doesn’t matter where I play,” Summaria said.
De Jonge struggled with his serve in the second set, allowing von der Schulenberg back into the match, but then wore down his opponent to take the match 6-3, 1-6, 6-1 and draw the team competition even.
“I always think that I’m just fitter than the other guy,” De Jonge said. “So even if that’s in my head, and it is most of the time not even true, I just keep believing that and I just keep committing to that and making long points.”
After the Crimson took court three in three sets, attention turned to courts two and four, playing side by side. The energy was electric at the Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center as Pepperdine’s Zeitvogel and Andrew Rogers looked to close out their opponents in two sets.
“It feels like there’s 1,000 people even though it’s like 50 people, so it’s a really cool atmosphere,” De Jonge said.
Zeitvogel (No. 67) traded powerful groundstrokes with Harvard’s Harris Walker (No. 35), growing more vocal to get the spectators involved.
Zeitvogel broke Walker’s serve to force a tiebreak, playing a drop shot that Walker could not reach. Another drop shot on match point forced a Walker error, and Zeitvogel roared as he took the match 7-5, 7-6 (3).
Senior Tim Zeitvogel defeats Harris Walker on court two, as Walker hits a shot wide on match point. Zeitvogel then gestures to the crowd. The victory tied the dual match 3-3. Video by Karl Winter
“I was down in crucial moments, but I believed in myself, and if I believed in the team, and then everything’s possible,” Zeitvogel said.
Rogers won the match 7-6 (4), 7-6 (6) to clinch the dual match for the Waves, pumping his fist as his teammates streamed onto the court to celebrate. After losing the clinching match against the Crimson in January, Rogers was the hero on Thursday.
“He’s just been an absolute joy to coach,” Schaechterle said. “I love being on his court and just have huge belief in his level. I’m just really happy for him to get it done.”
No. 15 Longhorns Hold Off Pepperdine’s Comeback Attempt
Pepperdine dropped doubles courts two and three for the second day in a row to begin Friday’s dual match, giving Texas a 1-0 lead.
“We’d like to win a few more doubles points, and start the match 1-0, but I’m grading us less on the result and more on the level that we’re producing,” Schaechterle said. “We’re improving where we’ve struggled and showing improvement across all three spots.”
Texas sophomore Siem Woldeab defeated Rogers in straight sets on four to make it 2-0 Longhorns. Again, Summaria got the Waves on the board with a straight-sets win.
Texas also took courts one and six to clinch the match, though Hadigian’s three-set performance on court six was much more competitive than his two-set Thursday loss.
Zeitvogel won for the second day in a row to bring the match to 4-2, Texas. Then the Longhorns’ Eliot Spizzirri beat Eero Vasa 6-2, 4-6, 7-5, to produce the final 5-2 margin. Vasa, a graduate transfer from Central Florida, lost both of his matches in three sets in his first appearance on court three this season.
“[Vasa]’s got big firepower, and his high level is high,” Schaechterle said. “I think what we want to see him continue to improve is his consistency — not necessarily making balls but more about the point-to-point consistency and producing a high level of tennis over a long period of time.”
The Waves were missing sophomore Pietro Fellin in both matches, as their usual court three player has not played since Feb. 26.
Turning to the Conference Slate
The Waves are the reigning West Coast Conference champions and now turn to the conference part of their spring schedule.
“We’ll just tried to keep improving over the next four to six weeks — to practice well and improve on a personal basis but also as a team — and try to really get after it in the West Coast Conference season and dominate some teams,” Zeitvogel said.
Pepperdine begins WCC play on the road against PCH Cup rival Loyola Marymount on March 26 in Los Angeles.
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Contact Karl Winter via Twitter (@karlwinter23) or by email: email@example.com