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CdM comes close

Boys' Tennis

Leads slip away, as Sea Kings lose in quarterfinals to Bellarmine Prep after opening win.

March 18, 2011|By Matt Szabo, matthew.szabo@latimes.com

NEWPORT BEACH — A tiebreaker here and a tiebreaker there, and the Corona del Mar High boys' tennis team could have pulled off the upset of the first day of the 12th annual National High School All-American Tournament.

In the end, the breaks — of serve or otherwise — didn't go the Sea Kings' way.

They battled but fell to No. 4-seeded Bellarmine Prep of San Jose, 6-2, in a tournament quarterfinal Friday afternoon at Palisades Tennis Club. The loss came after CdM defeated Palisades, 5-3, in its first-round match at Costa Mesa Tennis Center.

Corona del Mar will play Peninsula in a fifth-place semifinal at 8 a.m. Saturday, at The Tennis Club Newport Beach.

CdM did more than scare Bellarmine. The unseeded Sea Kings had the match in their grasp during the singles portion, which featured five pro-sets (first to eight games).

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Georgetown-bound senior Shane Korber was done first, routing Bellarmine senior Garrett Taylor, 8-0, in his singles set. Korber said Taylor had actually defeated him the previous year, when the Bells beat the Sea Kings in the first round of the All-American Tournament.

Korber went to go root for his teammates. Several had leads, but by the end Bellarmine had won each of the other four singles sets to grab a 4-1 lead with three doubles sets remaining.

"Pretty much every singles match was close and could have gone either way," Korber said. "We had a chance, at one point, to go up 4-1 in the singles. Instead, we were down, 4-1. A bunch of matches turned around."

Senior Ismaen Aboubakare had a 7-4 lead on Bellarmine's Rohan Shankar. But Shankar stormed back to win three straight games, forcing a tiebreaker, which he also won.

"I think it was 6-1 at one point, then he just started zoning," Aboubakare said. "He didn't miss. His forehand was easy to attack, but toward the end he was making more shots than I was."

The Sea Kings scurried over to watch the match at No. 2 singles, where CdM freshman Carson Williams also held a late lead on Bellarmine's Trevor James before falling, 8-6.

Because of Korber's dominance, the Sea Kings were still relatively close on games despite their 4-1 deficit. If they could win all three doubles sets, they'd likely have enough games to win on games.

Aboubakare and sophomore Alec Adamson won their doubles set to pull CdM closer. But Taylor and Shankar shut the door, jumping out to a 5-0 lead on Korber and Williams and winning, 8-3.

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