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Sage falls behind

Boys' Tennis

Lineup change works for Whitney, which is close to taking back league title from Lightning after Tuesday's match.

April 24, 2012|By Matt Szabo

CERRITOS — Each coach pulled out all the stops Tuesday in a key Academy League boys' tennis match.

Sage Hill Coach A.G. Longoria put his top singles player, senior Robbe Simon, at No. 3 singles.

Whitney Coach Wes Williams split up his top doubles team of Gabe Cupino and Alex Pham, putting them with other partners to try to bolster his overall doubles strength.

Maximizing the number of sets won — or even games if it came to that — is nothing new for Longoria and Williams. What were more rare were the words that came out of Longoria's mouth after the Lightning suffered a 10-8 defeat at Cerritos Regional Park.

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"I got outcoached," said Longoria, a two-time California High School Tennis Coach of the Year. "They have a little bit more flexibility than us. I was worried that [Williams] would make a move. I was hoping he wouldn't, but he did. It was a great move. He got a couple more doubles matches out of the thing, but we still had a shot."

Sage Hill (7-11, 5-2 in league) no longer appears to have a shot at defending its league title after dropping to third place. Whitney (17-1, 8-1) can clinch at least a tie for first by beating Crean Lutheran on May 1.

St. Margaret's (6-1 in league) also is still in the league title conversation. Sage Hill still has two matches against its rival, Wednesday at The Tennis Club and next Tuesday on the road. Rain is expected Wednesday, and Longoria said the rivals could play back-to-back matches next Monday and Tuesday.

It's not as satisfying as winning a league title, but the Lightning can now play spoiler against the Tartans.

Williams, who is aiming for his fourth league title with the Wildcats in five years, said he hopes Sage does just that.

No. 2 St. Margaret's, No. 3 Whitney and No. 4 Sage Hill dominate the top of the CIF Southern Section Division 3 coaches' poll. But the defending CIF champion Lightning haven't figured out a way to beat Whitney. They lost on games, 74-67, in the teams' first meeting March 27.

Williams had fun with the adjustments that both teams made in the rematch.

"I thought this was a real coaches' match," he said. "It was probably one of the best that we've been in since I've been coaching."

Simon, who is Stanford-bound for academics, swept his three singles sets despite battling strep throat. The Lightning's No. 1 doubles team of Alex Manolakas and Eric Magliarditi also swept.

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