Tiebreakers were so big in CdM's 11-7 quarterfinal win over Palos Verdes, as the Sea Kings (18-3) won three of four. This time, the Dons won three of four. Two in the first round hurt the most.
With Santa Barbara up, 3-1, the sets at No. 2 singles and No. 2 doubles went to tiebreakers. And CdM lost both, as the doubles team of Carter Wheatley and Alex Murray fell to Santa Barbara's Matt Baum and Dan Diaz, 7-1 in the tiebreaker. Minutes later, CdM senior Ryan Peyton couldn't hold a 6-5 lead in his tiebreaker and fell to Dons sophomore Nico Pollero, 8-6, in the tiebreaker.
A match that could have been tied, 3-3, had instead swung to Santa Barbara in a big way, 5-1.
"We lost three tiebreakers today and in each of those sets we had a set point," Ricker said. "That would have made it certainly a lot more exciting and close. But we still might not have won ... For us to win, we would have had to win all of the close sets. They were just a little stronger than we were."
By the end of the second round, Santa Barbara held a 9-3 lead, and was so far ahead on games that it had essentially clinched the match.
The Dons ended up winning six of nine sets in both singles and doubles. The No. 1 doubles team of Jim Vaughan and Chris Williams, which hasn't lost all season, swept CdM, and Dons senior Chase Melton won two singles sets before being subbed out.
Diaz, who has advanced to the round of 16 in the CIF doubles tournament with Baum, said the Dons were fortunate to get the sets they did.
"We played well, obviously, but I think a couple matches could have gone either way," he said. "Their doubles teams were, I think, the three toughest doubles teams that I've played all year on one team."