Tennis Team Comes up Short in So. Cal Semis; Six Players Advance in Individuals

The past week for the MSJC tennis program was a very eventful one with the mens team traveling to Cypress College and battled the host chargers for a spot in the Southern California Dual team regional final. The eagles had recently played Cypress in their last match of the regular season and lost that match by the score of 7-2. This time out the stakes were much higher as the loser would have their season come to an end. The eagles battled hard and Victor Bittar gave the team its first point of the day at #2 singles with a 7-5, 6-0 win. The rest of the eagles did not fare as well and Murilo Valadares, Anderson Ribeiro and Tavyn Libao all lost in straight sets to put the eagles down in the overall match at 1-3. James Bragg and Mensford Owusu were both stuck in 3 set battles with the balance of the match hanging on their rackets. Mensford battled as hard as any eagle had in the past years but came up a bit short losing his match 6-4 in the 3rd set. The eagles were now sitting on the brink of defeat down 1-4 and James 'Big Dog' Bragg was down 2-5 in his final set. Bragg dug in and eventually outlasted his opponent pulling out the 3rd set 7-6 and keeping the eagles in the match heading into the doubles down by the overall score of 2-4. Leaving everything they had left on the tennis courts the Eagles battled until the very end but came up short finally falling in the #3 doubles spot 6-2, 6-2 and losing the match 5-3. Nevertheless, it was a great season for the young team and also the 4th year in a row the MSJC mens tennis program has finished among the top 4 college tennis programs in Southern California. MSJC finishes another successful season with an overall record of 13-6.
 
The MSJC Mens Tennis Team participated this past weekend at the prestigious Ojai tournament and returned home with some great results. Last year the eagles brought home the team title and the mens jc doubles crown, which was a 1st for the mens tennis program at MSJC. This year the eagles fought through a very tough draw and reached the semi-finals of doubles and the quarterfinals in singles. Mensford Owusu and Victor Bittar battled their way through the doubles draw defeating College of the Desert in the quarterfinals to advance to the semifinals this past Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, because of this long singles battle earlier in the day in the quarterfinals, Victor was unable to continue playing and the team had to default in the semifinal match up against the #1 doubles team from Cypress College. Nevertheless, it was a very successful tournament for the young eagles squad heading into regional play later this week in Palm Springs. 
 
MSJC will be sending six players to the regional individuals in Palm Springs. Representing the eagles at regionals will be Victor Bittar, Murilo Valadares and James Bragg in singles. Victor Bittar/Mensford Owusu, James Bragg/Murilo Valadares and Tavyn Libao/Anderson Riberio will all represent the eagles in the doubles draw. The state individual tournament will be held up north in Fresno this year and the top 8 singles players and doubles teams will be advanced to the state tournament. Last season MSJC player Gabor Toth won both the regional singles tournament and the state singles tournament to become the most successful tennis player in MSJC history. Hopefully, this year the young eagles can use his inspiration and play with enough desire and heart to advance to the next round.