Tennis continues to struggle

Pierce College’s tennis team won its first match of the season in doubles play at home Thursday, but lost the game 8-1 to Glendale Community College and fell to 0-2 on the season.

Pierce’s Nick Kerhulas and Kiran Dev were victorious over Glendale’s Arin Meserkhani and Michael Akopians in the top seeded doubles match of the day. Both Pierce players noticed improvement in their communication that led to the first match win of the season for the team.

“The communication was a lot better today and everything fell into place,” Kerhulas said. “We were on today. Kiran helped a lot, he is a great motivator.”

Dev also pointed to communication as a key to their success.

“Our communication is pretty solid. I think that is one of our strengths,” Dev said.  “We know how to help each other out, both mentally and physically. If I’m down he is going to help me out. If he is down I am going to help him out.”

Dev lost his singles match against David Ismailian in a tiebreaker (4-6, 6-1, 7-10). Dev’s shoulder popped during play making it challenging to serve and hit overheads, according to Dev. Pierce head coach Long Dao said he liked his chances if he did not suffer the injury.

“If he didn’t have that pain in his shoulder, I think he would have pulled it out, and I think we would have had two wins today,” Dao said. “He grinded through and did what he needed to do to at least put himself in a position to win”

Playing its second game of the season Pierce’s tennis team may not be in the same game shape as its opponents from Glendale, who improved to 3-3 on the season and 1-1 in conference play.

Pierce player Daniel Barrera lost to John Robertson, as he played with a sore forearm on Wednesday, following Tuesday’s match against Santa Barbara.

“I was playing pretty well and then my forearm started killing me. That is because I got into competitive tennis on Tuesday,” Barrera said. “[Robertson] played well, but because I gave him mediocre shots, he was able to perform well. If I had pushed him back it would have been a different story, but he’s a great player.”

Pierce’s number one player Manish Kumar missed his second consecutive game with a back injury, forcing the other players to move up a spot. Being down a player also caused Pierce to start the game at an 0-2 deficit, due to not being able to play a sixth singles and third doubles match, resulting in forfeit of both matches, according to Dao.

Overall, Dao sees improvement with the way the team is coming together as a whole.

“After the second match you can see that they are starting to feel the pride more, and play with more heart and spirit,” Dao said. “It is a learning experience for them. There is a learning curve.”

Pierce’s next tennis game is Tuesday Feb. 23 at Bakersfield at 2 p.m.