Kibira, Tigers Win First SCIAC Match in 3 Years

Kibira, Tigers Win First SCIAC Match in 3 Years

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LOS ANGELES — Occidental senior captain Isa Kibira and the Occidental men's tennis team won their first conference match in three years, defeating Chapman 5-4 on the road on Saturday.

Oxy finishes the year 7-9 and was No. 20 in the last regional ranking. Chapman was No. 16, meaning the Tigers are likely to move up in the next release. 

 Kibira, who hadn't won a singles match against the grueling SCIAC since his first year at Oxy, beat Igor Bellineli 7-6, 3-6, 6-4 at No. 4 singles to earn the match-clinching point.

"It was an exciting moment. This was one of our outcome goals," Oxy first year head coach Rachel Manasse said. "While we focus much more on process goals, it was great to see it come together in the last conference match of the season."

His match had an extremely long first set, with long rallies, that Kibira eventually won via the tiebreaker.

"Isa ended up winning because he was able to hit really good forehand slices and followed them up well at the net," Manasse said. "He was able to anticipate the passing shots of the opponent, putting him in an advantageous position at the net."

The entire match was long too, lasting nearly five hours. 

Ivan Derrick was big for the Tigers also, winning at No. 3 singles over Brock Dehaven 6-3, 6-1 and at No. 3 doubles with Vincent Bartholomew, 8-1. 

His singles win was important for Oxy's momentum to get a point on the board quickly after Oxy swept in doubles. Kibira and Lucas Chmielewski won at No. 2 doubles and Isaiah Bird and Cameron Coe were down 5-2 at No. 1 doubles, but bounced back to win 9-7.

"Ivan played amazingly in singles and doubles," Manasse said. "He and Vinny were working together nicely. Ivan closed the net really well with his 6-foot-4 frame, making it nearly impossible for the opponents to get the ball past him."

Chmielewski and Kibira will continue the season at Ojai next weekend.

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