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Trojans too tough for CdM

Boys' Tennis

Sea Kings battle early, but league rival University takes third straight Division 1 title.

May 30, 2012|By Matt Szabo
(Scott Smeltzer…)

CLAREMONT — University High boys' tennis Coach John Kessler is always effusive in his praise of the Trojans' opponents, and that was again true Wednesday afternoon at The Claremont Club.

Kessler spoke of the excellence of the Pacific Coast League this year in boys' tennis. He praised the effort of league rival Corona del Mar. He even said he believed that CdM Coach Brian Ricker should be named Orange County Coach of the Year.

"He's had a tremendous year," Kessler said. "We're supposed to win, with our talent."

The Trojans winning again, that also was true.

University topped Corona del Mar, 13-5, to capture its third straight CIF Southern Section Division 1 championship.

The Trojans, who were the top seeds in CIF, have won Division 1 five of the last six years. They have also won 68 straight dual matches.

CdM was the No. 2 seed, yet came into the match knowing it was also the huge underdog. And, while there is a mutual respect between the programs, the rivalry has been somewhat frustrating at times to the Sea Kings.

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"It's incredible," CdM senior Alex Murray said. "I just think it's not fair that we're in the finals of Division 1 and we can't even win a league title. But, I mean, that's just unfortunate that we're in the same league. They're just way too good. It's incredible what they do. They're just constantly winning, and they keep getting better. We think, 'OK, next year they're going to lose this guy, maybe we can get closer.' But, no, they just keep getting better."

University (21-0) beat CdM (21-4) for the fourth time this season, also including twice in league and the finals of the Dana Hills tournament. This time Ricker tried something new, electing to stack his doubles teams.

The plan was to sweep doubles and win at least one singles set, tough to do with the Trojans' singles players of junior Gage Brymer, sophomore Drew Dawson and junior Stefan Menichella.

"That was the plan going into today, having one kind of lucky match out of the nine singles and somehow we'd win 10-8," CdM senior Dan Anastos said. "But that's a lot to hope for."

Corona del Mar still kept things interesting early.

Sophomore Josh Kliger battled Dawson in the first round before falling, 6-4, at No. 2 singles. Still, CdM got big wins from the No. 1 doubles team of Murray and Henry Gordon, as well as the No. 3 team of Zach Williams and Andrew Nguyen.

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