Sage in driver's seat

Boys' Tennis

Lightning, who have never won outright league title, stretch lead after beating Whitney.

April 01, 2011|By Matt Szabo,

NEWPORT BEACH — Friends told Andrew Kurzweil to wait until after his tennis match Friday to see if he got into his dream college.

Kurzweil didn't listen. The Sage Hill School senior checked on his phone earlier in the day to find out he had been accepted to Amherst College in Massachusetts.

"They have like a 6 or 7% acceptance rate this year," Kurzweil said of Amherst, one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country. "I knew the odds were against me, but I ended up checking. I couldn't wait."


On the court, Kurzweil helped the Lightning make the Academy League race look more and more, well, academic.

Sage Hill beat Whitney, 12-6, at The Tennis Club Newport Beach. The Lightning, who have never won an outright league title in boys' tennis, opened up a two-match lead over both Whitney and rival St. Margaret's.

Kurzweil said he plans to play tennis at Amherst, a Division III school. This year the Lightning (8-5, 4-0 in league) are also a top Division III school in the CIF Southern Section, ranked No. 3. Kurzweil said the team wants to do well in all three phases of the season: preseason, league play and CIF. They're off to a strong start after recording the program's first wins over Santa Margarita and Newport Harbor and also starting league strong. Tuesday's 13-5 victory over St. Margaret's was the program's biggest win over its rival.

"That's just going to help us build confidence going into the playoffs," said Kurzweil, who swept at No. 2 singles Friday. "We're taking care of business now. We really feel like we can go all the way and we're proving it."

The only other time Sage Hill won the league title was in 2008, co-champions with Whitney. But Whitney (8-3, 2-2), ranked No. 5 in Division III, has won the league title outright each of the past two years.

"They're always tough," Lightning Coach A.G. Longoria said. "Last year, on a Monday we were ranked No. 1 in Division IV. On a Tuesday, they popped us, 13-5. We proceeded to drop out of the top 10 before we got it together and came back to get to the semifinals."

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