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Palos Verdes wins battle of Sea Kings

Boys' Tennis

Visitors too tough in singles for CdM, which loses rare nonleague match Thursday at home.

March 06, 2014|By Matt Szabo

Around the start of Thursday's nonleague match, Palos Verdes High boys' tennis coach Danny Moscovici had a question for Corona del Mar Coach Jamie Gresh.

Moscovici inquired about the whereabouts of CdM junior Chaz Downing, an integral part of the teams that reached the CIF Southern Section Division 1 title match each of the last two years.

Gresh said that Downing is not playing high school tennis this season, choosing to focus on junior tournaments.

Palos Verdes took advantage at the CdM courts, winning seven singles sets to post a 10-8 victory in the battle of schools with Sea Kings as mascots.

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Besides the loss of Downing, Corona del Mar (2-1) is younger this year, returning just four starters from last year's team. High school All-American Alec Adamson graduated and now plays at UC Davis, while the doubles team of Paul Kacik and Andrew Nguyen also graduated. In addition, Gresh lost versatile sophomore Pedro Fernandez, whose family moved to Florida.

Palos Verdes (5-0), which could be ranked at No. 2 in the initial Division 1 poll when it is released Monday, has six senior starters. Two of them, University of Washington-bound Jake Douglas and Boston College-bound Kent Mukai, easily swept in singles Thursday. And sophomore Brandon Holt also easily won twice before being subbed out.

Last year, CdM lost a dual match to no other team besides league rival University, including a 14-4 romp over Palos Verdes. But times have changed.

"They all were healthy, playing really solid," Moscovici said of his singles lineup. "Not seeing Chaz Downing in the lineup kind of gave us confidence, obviously. One less strong player to play against. But singles played really well. We've got to do some work in the doubles, but I give credit to Corona's doubles. They looked sharper than we did today."

CdM senior captains Carson Williams and Josh Kliger easily swept at No. 1 doubles, 6-3, 6-0, 6-2. And senior Samee Aboubakare and junior Tyler Gaede also swept at No. 2 doubles.

But Palos Verdes' No. 3 team of Trent Wong and Kevin Jiao edged a tiebreaker win over CdM's Jonny Rhone and Oliver Kim in the first round, helping the visitors take a 4-2 advantage. Palos Verdes broke even in both of the final two rounds, but that was enough to earn the victory.

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