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Corona del Mar continues fast start

Boys' Tennis

Talented freshmen have helped Sea Kings easily win first three matches, but tougher tests await.

March 07, 2012|By Matt Szabo

CORONA DEL MAR — Two standout freshman boys' tennis players have arrived on the Corona del Mar High campus, just like they did in the fall of 2006 on the girls' side.

Before the season began, Coach Brian Ricker compared current freshman boys Chaz Downing and Henry Gordon to Melissa Matsuoka and Hailey Hogan.

It is high praise indeed. Matsuoka and Hogan, who now play at Dartmouth and Johns Hopkins respectively, had standout four-year careers for the Sea Kings girls. They helped CdM win the 2006 Division I title.

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Downing and Gordon look like they could also make a big difference for this year's CdM boys, who eased past Laguna Beach, 16-2, in a nonleague match Wednesday.

Downing is ranked No. 5 in the Southern California boys' 14s rankings, and No. 40 nationally. Recently he made it to the finals of a United States Tennis Assn. National Open tournament in Claremont. Gordon is ranked No. 30 in the SoCal 16s.

The two players, along with junior Alec Adamson and sophomore Carson Williams, add up to four very good singles players. That's different than last year, when CdM sometimes struggled in singles after then-senior Shane Korber, now at Georgetown.

CdM (3-0) has certainly started fast.

"In singles, our goal is to fight every single point and wear people down," Ricker said. "We have four good singles players, and all four of them have different personalities on the court. All four of them play a little bit different, but they're willing to keep the ball in play. It's mentally tough on an opponent ... even if they lose 1-6, they're still going to get a lot of balls in play and tire people out. When you play a team that has just one good singles [player] and we have three, it's a big advantage for us."

Gordon missed Wednesday's match due to an ankle injury. CdM still showed its singles depth even after Downing was edged, 6-4, by Laguna's top singles player, Teague Hamilton. It was Downing's first loss of his high school career, but Adamson and Williams each topped Hamilton, 6-3.

"It's definitely a bigger advantage," Adamson said. "Chaz lost that first match, but he still really tired him out for me and Carson ... we're able to be in a lot more matches."

Downing did not play his third set, as Ricker said his knee has been bothering him.

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