The Pierce College men’s tennis team was defeated in a 9-0 sweep by the Bakersfield College Renegades on the afternoon of Tuesday, March 15.
The Brahma’s former number one player suffered a back injury and was unable to continue playing this season, leaving the team one player short. There were supposed to be six singles matches and three doubles matches between the Brahmas and the Renegades, but Pierce’s tennis team only had enough players for five single matches and two double matches. The lack of players forced Pierce’s team to automatically forfeit two points to the Bakersfield team by default; one for each match they couldn’t play.
Scoring is ultimately out of nine points but, before either team even began playing, Bakersfield already had a 2-0 lead. Anthony Avakian, 21, who is playing for the team for the first time this season, explained that there’s often a lot of “mind game” involved in tennis. It’s easy to contradict yourself and be your own enemy in a match. While starting at a point disadvantage can be a little rough, there are ways to overcome the difficulty.
“The more relaxed you are, the better you play, and that’s true for everyone,” Avakian said. “Every time you practice that leads up to you performing well, but you have to be comfortable with winning or losing.”
20-year-old Joshua Correa was already on the tennis team for two seasons, the maximum that is allowed. Since he can no longer play for the Brahmas, Correa comes out to support the team whenever he can. He was walking from court to court and cheering on the players from the sidelines.
“Winning or losing matches is something you’ll forget at the end of the day, or at least at the end of your life,” Correa said. “It’s more about the memories you create along the way and, so far, I think the guys are having a great time. They’re enjoying each other’s company, they’re fighting for points, and that’s all that matters.”
Team player Daniel Barrera agreed with assistant coach Jose Felix Villa that, although tennis is very much an individual sport, the group mentality of the team has been growing. Barrera said that the game exhausted him. However, he knows that he and the team will have their energy up again by their next game, which is scheduled for Thursday against Ventura.
“There’s always room for improvement,” Barrera said.