Usman Siddiqui | Asst. Sports Editor
After achieving much individual and team success in the season finishing undefeated in its conference, RCC men’s tennis will attempt to add one more accolade to its year when they travel to Ojai for the individual regional and state finals to finish off their campaign.
As a team, the Tigers finished 18-3 overall and 10-0 in the Orange Empire Conference (OEC), making them the top team in the OEC. The team also competed well against Ventura, which is one of the two
teams that are regarded as the best tennis teams in Southern California.
The No. 4 seed Tigers feel to No. 1 Ventura College Pirates in the Southern California Semi finals to end their season as a team. the Tandem of Gobatie and Danny Garcia handed Ventura No. 1 doubles tandem Cameron Lee and Vitor Mendes their first loss of the season. The Tigers went 3-3 in individual play but went 2-1 in doubles to lose 5-4. Ventura College doubles Hans Baumstark and Tom Douglass defeated RCC doubles Aliaksandr Pesniak and Ulises Banos 8-2. Doubles played first giving Ventura a 2-1 lead going into individual play. Ventura won individual matches one, two and five to clinch the match for the Pirates.
As individuals, the players have excelled with five of them going to the singles and doubles Individual State Championships to try and hoist the state trophy.
In the OEC individual tournament at Fullerton College, sophomore Jordan Gobatie was crowned OEC champion when the tournament concluded on April 13. Gobatie performed exceptionally well in singles play to further solidify his individual success this year and was awarded the opportunity to study at Northern Arizona University while contributing his skills to its tennis program.
Head coach Jim Elton is given a good amount of credit from his players for the team’s success. The players feel like he did a great job with the team under a bit of adversity, as it was never viewed as a big threat by other teams.
Though Gobatie is leaving the Tigers, he is happy with the success he amassed with his team in his final season with the program. “The tennis team did really well this season. We gave the top ranked tennis team in Southern California a run for their money in the regional playoff,” he said. “All in all a very solid season considering the underdog status we had going in to playoffs.”
The chemistry of the team is credited by both the players and the coaches. “The team fought hard this year and it was a pleasure playing with them,” Gobatie said. He acknowledged that with this being the last season he would play at RCC, he had high hopes for the season and wanted to leave his time with the Tigers on a positive note.
The Tigers will now prepare for the Ojai Regional and State Championships in singles and doubles on April 25.