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Downing through to final

Tennis

CdM freshman plays big, cruising by top seed. Watrous loses tough quarterfinal match.

April 28, 2012|By Matt Szabo

OJAI — As some of his Corona del Mar High tennis teammates played Frisbee on an adjacent baseball field Saturday, Chaz Downing focused.

When his opponent, Connor Hance of Torrance, questioned his line call midway through the first set and requested an umpire, Downing remained focused.

Those CdM teammates — Alex Murray, Zach Williams and Alec Adamson — hung around a day after they were eliminated to watch Downing in a boys' 14 singles semifinal match at the 112th annual Ojai Valley Tennis Tournament. They yelled out in support of Downing, sometimes calling him by his team nickname, "DJ Chazzy Chaz."

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The reason why Downing has that nickname is simple enough.

"It just sounds right," Murray said.

The No. 3-seeded DJ spun quite a victory Saturday at Villanova Preparatory School. Downing upset top-seeded Hance, 6-1, 6-1, to advance to the boys' 14s championship match. Downing will play league rival Arash Hafezi of University, the No. 2 seed, in the title match at 11 a.m. Sunday at Libbey Park South.

Other locals weren't as fortunate. Newport Beach native Mazy Watrous fell in a girls' 18 singles quarterfinal to Sophia Bott of San Clemente, 6-4, 6-3, also at Libbey Park South.

In the junior college ranks, No. 10-seeded Rex Miller and Pat Wright of Orange Coast fell to No. 2 Josh Banks and Parker Kelley of Desert, 6-4, 6-1 in a men's doubles quarterfinal. The Pirates women's duo of Madelyn Koehly and Haley Moss fell to Sophie Angner and Talia Hudson of Santa Barbara, 6-3, 6-2, in another quarterfinal match.

No. 5-seeded Newport Beach resident Thomas Shubert advanced to the open men's semifinals before losing to Peter Lucassen, 6-4, 6-4.

University High junior Gage Brymer captured the CIF singles division for the second straight year by beating Tyler Pham of Rancho Bernardo, 6-3, 6-2, in the championship match. Brymer's Trojan teammates, Stefan Menichella and Drew Dawson, bested Jacob Johnson and Adam Levie of Torrey Pines, 6-3, 6-7, 10-4 in the CIF doubles final.

University won the Griggs Cup, awarded to the high school that earns the most combined wins in CIF singles and doubles, for the third straight year.

Downing's semifinal victory technically was a small upset. Downing is ranked No. 6 in the Southern California 14s and 39th nationally, while Hance is No. 4 in SoCal and 24 nationally. But Ricker said Downing has shown so much improvement during the high school season that he couldn't be too surprised with the lopsided score.

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