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Sage movin' on up

Lightning, now in Division III, take down second Trinity League school in as many days by toppling Santa Margarita.

March 01, 2011|By Matt Szabo, matthew.szabo@latimes.com

NEWPORT BEACH — Robbe Simon dug deep, not that the Sage Hill School junior had a choice.

Serving at 4-5 and love-40, Simon faced triple match point. Yet Simon stayed steady Tuesday afternoon in the Lightning's nonleague match against Santa Margarita.

"I don't know what was really going through my mind," Simon said. "I just kind of thought, 'One more point. One more point.'"

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He came back to win that first set over Santa Margarita's Matt Breisacher in a tiebreaker, then called it a day. Simon, a lefty, put a big ice pack on his sore left shoulder.

A couple of hours later he watched his replacement help ice the match, as Garrett Rapport came in for two big wins in Sage's impressive 10-8 nonleague victory at The Tennis Club Newport Beach.

The Lightning (2-0) beat their second Trinity League school in as many days. Coach A.G. Longoria said it's the first time Sage Hill has ever beaten Santa Margarita in boys' tennis in eight meetings.

Sage Hill, which advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division IV semifinals last year before losing a marathon super-tiebreaker match to Rowland, is now up in Division III.

"When our girls were moved to Division III [last fall], we didn't get any respect," Longoria said. "We kind of told [the ranking committee] that St. Margaret's and us were pretty good. But we didn't have any experience so we weren't seeded in the [CIF] tournament, and we ended up playing each other in the final, two Division IV teams moving up."

A win over a Division I team like Santa Margarita (0-1), last year's Trinity League champion, should make people take notice of the Lightning boys. Senior Andrew Kurzweil and junior Denis Cirit each won two singles sets, and the doubles team of senior Kevin Marshack and junior Alex Manolakas also won two of three sets.

The Lightning used Simon's win to take a 4-2 lead after the first go-round, and led throughout. The Santa Margarita doubles team of Henry Steipel and Lucas Miller rallied past Marshack and Manolakas in a final-round tiebreaker, pulling the Eagles closer. But after Kurzweil topped Leigh Steipel in his final singles match, Sage was up, 9-8, and with a big enough games lead should it come to that.

Rapport still gave everyone a good show in the last set on court, outlasting Santa Margarita's Jonathan Song in yet another tiebreaker, 7-4.

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