After our win yesterday against Bishop Diego, we had one match left before spring break. Rio Mesa plays in Division 2, two divisions ahead of us, and came in with a 3-0 record. We beat them last year in a tight 9-9 match, and early on this match looked like it might go the distance as well.
Rio Mesa showed up with 8 eligible players and consequently had to default the #3 doubles position, and though we have been picking up consistent wins at #3 doubles, the three 6-0 scores were a welcome cushion should we go to 9-9 again. Early on, that’s where it was headed, as Rio Mesa won 6-0 at #1 doubles and went up 4-1 against our #2 team. However, Atty Roddick and Martin Barnick made a great run to get back in the match and ended up taking the tiebreaker 7-4 on solid net play from Roddick and excellent serving and returning from Barnick.
In singles, Ben Furukawa played strongly, but suffered a 6-3 loss against Anthony Baltazar, the Rio Mesa #1 and serious tournament player. Tristan Prinz and Phillip Hicks picked up the slack with 6-0 and 6-1 wins at #2 and #3 singles to put Laguna up 4-2 after the first round.
The match continued on a similar trajectory, with our #1 doubles duo of Henry Farrell and Jack Espy winning against Rio Mesa’s #2 team and singles continuing to beat up on Rio Mesa’s #2 and #3 singles guys. Tristan and Phillip are both coming around nicely, the Laguna 1-2-3 punch is going to be a formidable strength by the end of the season, when everyone is firing on all cylinders.
As has been the case in most of our matches in the last few seasons, all attending players got into the match, with Connor Elmore/Conrad Perry nearly besting Rio Mesa’s #2 team (5-7) and the combo of Dalton Smith/Thomas Sloan getting some good experience going up against the #1’s.
In the end, we ended up with a nice 11-7 win against a good team. We now stand at 5-3, 1-0 in league and in the first CIF seeding poll of the season we are ranked #3 in Division 4. Immediately after the break, we’ll go against another quality ranked opponent in the Cate School, who’ll we’ll play at Laguna on Wednesday, April 9th, with other key rivals Santa Ynez and Thacher coming up soon thereafter.
Dalton’s mom Valorie Smith, who is a professional photographer, was on hand to shoot the match courtesy of www.valoriesmith.com and all photos in this post are hers. Thanks Valorie!