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Uni earns No. 100

Boys' Tennis

Trojans, who haven't lost in nearly five years, dominate CdM in match for first place in league.

April 01, 2014|By Matt Szabo

IRVINE — It must be a nice feeling, playing against some of the top talent in Southern California and still coming out on top year after year.

The University High boys' tennis team definitely has its cake and eats it too.

The Trojans did actually eat cake after Tuesday's home match, a 14-4 Pacific Coast League win over rival Corona del Mar in a first-place showdown. They had good reason to do so.

University, the four-time defending CIF Southern Section Division 1 champion, celebrated its 100th straight dual match win. The Trojans have not lost a dual match since falling to Thousand Oaks in the 2009 Division 1 title match.

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Coach John Kessler said the fact that the winning streak has hit triple digits while playing in the Pacific Coast League is impressive. The last loss to an Orange County team was to CdM, all the way back in 2006.

"We're doing that in probably the toughest league in the country, with Northwood and CdM and other teams that are amazing," Kessler said. "Plus, it's Division 1. That's saying a lot. This is not some random league and some random division. We're playing against the top teams in the nation."

The Trojans (10-0, 4-0 in league), who are again the top-ranked team in Division 1, were supposed to be down this year. They lost all three starting singles players from last year to graduation. Gage Brymer is now playing at UCLA, Stefan Menichella at Pepperdine and Tyler Lu at Yale. But this year's team, led by captains Drew Dawson, Eric Tseng, Arash Hafezi and Arseni Yalouskikh, has been nearly as impressive.

"This is the best chemistry that I've had on a team in a really long time," Kessler said. "The captains have done a great job. We heard the talk from coaches and players, 'Uni's down, here's our shot.' I can't believe how hard they've worked and how they've rallied around [each other]. There's no one that leaves during a match, everyone's together. They've had at least seven or eight dinners together so far already. It's the best chemistry we've ever had, and they are absolutely motivated to prove to people that we're more than those three guys."

The match got away from CdM (9-2, 3-1) early. University grabbed a 6-0 advantage after the first round after taking two close doubles sets. Tseng and Tommy Wang topped CdM's Samee Aboubakare and Tyler Gaede, 7-5. Minutes later, Yalouskikh and Arid Safi got past CdM's Carson Williams and Jonny Rhone by the same score.

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