But it was still Los Angeles Valley College. More like Death Valley to the Sea Kings.
No. 3-seeded CdM's season ended at the hands of Harvard-Westlake, which posted a 10-8 victory in the CIF Southern Section Division I quarterfinal match.
"I'm 0 for 3 here this year," said Ricker, who knew Tuesday's result was not really much of an upset at all. He's been saying all year that a quarterfinal match would be difficult, with so many of the top teams capable of beating each other.
"I knew it was going to be close," Ricker said. "I felt like to get to the finals, you're going to have to win two 9-9s [matches] or 10-8s, two close ones. The close sets didn't go our way today. They were just a little too tough for us in that second round."
The teams were tied, 3-3, after a round. The Sea Kings (17-5) were feeling good about their chances, too, since they swept in doubles that first round, improving to a combined 21-0 record in the playoffs.
But then came the second round, where the Wolverines (18-3) stepped up. First it was Matt Wagner and Harrison Kalt beating CdM's No. 1 team of Carter Wheatley and Alex Murray, 6-4. Then Paul Kacik and Zach Williams fell to Adam Williams and Dylan Eisner, 6-4. Harvard-Westlake's No. 3 team, Roy Murdock and Max Rothman, then toughed out a 7-6 (7-5) victory over CdM's duo of Ismaen Aboubakare and Alec Adamson.
Suddenly, the score was 8-4 Harvard-Westlake after the second round and CdM was reeling.
Now Harvard-Westlake Coach Chris Simpson was feeling good. He said his boys' program, which advanced to the semifinals for the third straight year, hadn't played CdM at all since losing in a CIF Division V semifinal match in 2000. In that match, he said the Wolverines had taken an early lead before top-seeded CdM rallied.