Laguna Blanca Finishes Regular Season 10-2, #3 in CIF D5

The Owls came up against some strong competition in league play in the second half of the season, but have managed to secure 3rd place in the Tai-Valley League. With that, Laguna Blanca Boys’ Tennis has also clinched a spot in the CIF Playoffs, where they are currently seeded third in Division 5.

Next up for the Owls will be Tri-Valley League Individuals at 1pm on Tuesday at the Cate School in Carpinteria. The following week will see the beginning of CIF Playoffs, with draws available on Monday, May 2nd.

Laguna Blanca v Thacher, 5-13 loss

The Owls faced a 3-1 Thacher team that had been building momentum, just two days after the end of spring break. While the match was initially close, tied 3-3 after the first round, the Toads picked up steam as play continued, while the Owls faded.

Laguna Blanca @ Bishop Diego, 14-4 win

The win was spear-headed by doubles play, where seniors Owen Pryor and George Nicks took 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 wins and junior/sophomore duo Cody Busch-Weiss and Jake Gidney also swept.

Senior captain Ben Rodgers went 2-0 on the day with his usual partner, freshman Davis Ohanian, before being substituted out for the third round. Freshman Lucas Ayala played with Ohanian in the third round, losing a tight tie-break set. The pair saved four set points before succumbing 6-8.

In singles, Bishop exchange student Gio Basocco of Italy won his three sets, while Laguna took the remaining six sets. Juniors Aden Meisel and Kent Dunn and sophomore Mason Berg all went 2-1 on the day for Laguna Blanca in the singles lineup.

Coach’s Comments: “We came with a lot of energy today, which was great to see after our first loss of the season on Tuesday. Thacher caught us on day two after a two-week spring break and although we didn’t play poorly, we lacked some of the spark that had carried us through a number of close matches in the first half of the season. This match against Bishop Diego was a good one to get the ship pointed in the right direction again as we head into a three-match week next week.”

Laguna Blanca @ Cabrillo/Lompoc, 18-0 win

Laguna dominated the early play, taking a 5-0 lead before play was stopped due to rain. Cabrillo agreed to forfeit the remaining matches.

Laguna Blanca @ St. Bonaventure, 15-3 win

The Owls took a dominant 15-3 win over short-handed St. Bonaventure. The doubles lineup registered a clean sweep, dropping just eight games in total.

Laguna Blanca v Cate School, 1-17 loss

Laguna looked competitive in a number of sets, but had trouble maintaining the level of the very strong D3 Cate team in the second half of sets. Ben Rodgers and Davis Ohanian took the lone win in doubles, and also battled to two tie-break losses in their other sets, proving they are amongst the best doubles teams in the Tri-Valley League.

Laguna Blanca @ Foothill Tech, 12-6 win

Laguna took 8-of-9 sets in doubles, dominating the net and showing strength in depth. Senior Ben Rodgers and freshman Davis Ohanian continued their strong play at the #1 position, while Aden Meisel dropped from the singles lineup to pair with fellow junior Cody Busch-Weiss. The new pairing shot out the gates with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 showing on the day. Sophomores Jake Gidney and Mason Berg also paired together for the first time, taking two set-wins at the #3 doubles position.

In singles, all three Laguna players were able to get past the Foothill #3, with senior Owen Pryor taking a huge win over Foothill’s nationally-ranked #1 singles player Shaurya Shyam to finish 2-1 on the day.

Senior Kai Suzuki started slow but was dominant in the third round to take his win, while junior Kent Dunn played his best tennis of the season to beat the #3 in the first round and play very competitive sets in the remaining two.

Coach’s Comments: “This match was the biggest win of the season for us. Foothill was missing a key singles player, but even with him in the lineup we would have been competitive, because the guys were playing so well. We really rose to the occasion as a team today. It’s a great sign as we head into the playoffs.”

Laguna Blanca @ Dunn School, 17-1 win

The Owls finished regular season play with a new lineup, featuring sweeps from Davis Ohanian, Cody Busch-Weiss, and Mason Berg in singles. In doubles play, seniors Ben Rodgers and Owen Pryor held down the #1 spot, with juniors Aden Meisel and Kent Dunn dominating at #2, and senior/freshman combo Kai Suzuki and Lucas Ayala picking up two wins and a close 6-8 tie-break loss at #3.

Fit and Firing Owls off to 2-0 Start with Convincing Early-Season Wins

IMG_3399

Hard work (including the team tradition “rain run” pictured above) has put the Owls in prime position to take another step forward this season. Laguna Blanca has begun the 2018 campaign with a pair of victories, with another four matches to be played in the next 9 days. Here are the recaps: Continue reading

Laguna Dominates Pacifica in 14-4 Rout

IMG_9128The last three matches between these teams have been decided by two sets or less, but this year the Owls were overwhelming in a comprehensive victory over the Tritons.

There’s a lot of youth and inexperience on the Laguna Blanca boys’ tennis team compared to recent years, but at 7-1 overall this season, the Owls are getting the job done and getting better rapidly. The timing couldn’t be better, with this week’s schedule featuring three solid opponents and Thacher plus Foothill Tech coming up next.

Laguna got three promising set wins from juniors Jason Barnick and Conor Scheinberg, who played the best doubles of the season, winning 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 over some quality opponents. Rhami Zeini also stood out today with his aggressive net play across three solid sets of play.

In singles today, Alex Furukawa swept 6-0, 6-0, 6-0 and Victor Liu was absolutely dominant in two sets, beating Pacifica’s top two players 6-1, 6-0. Kovid Mishra also got in on the singles fun, taking Liu’s place in the third round and picking up a 6-4 victory. Kai Nakamura quietly continued his progression as a stand-out high school singles player with three set wins, bringing his record to 17-4 in singles on the season (18-4 overall).

In related news, there is a new theory and now even photographic evidence about who started “The Dab.” As it turns out, it was our very own freshman phenom, Kai Nakamura, who uses the popular dance move as part of his heavy top-spin forehand!

Kai Nakamura Laguna Blanca Tennis

Laguna Moves to 6-1 with Wins over Nordhoff, Carpinteria, and Orcutt Academy

Laguna Blanca Boys Tennis 2017-3

The Owls have been proving that this season is more than just a rebuilding operation. Despite having not a single starting senior in the lineup, Laguna has steadily worked its way into relevance by defeating six-of-seven teams faced so far in the 2017 season. Here are the match recaps for the last three wins:

Laguna v. Orcutt Academy (12-6)

Laguna faced a lineup-stack from Orcutt, which translated to a sweep from Coast Union at #1 doubles. They also picked up some wins at the #2 doubles spot, but failed to draw blood in nine sets of singles play. Alex Furukawa, Kai Nakamura, and Conor Scheinberg lost just 5 of 59 games played in singles action.

Laguna benefitted greatly from two wins from Jason Barnick and Victor Liu, who recovered well after stumbling early against the Orcutt’s #1’s. Kovid Mishra’s killer backhand (pictured above) and Kevin Khodabandehlou’s steady play provided an additional set win (6-0 against Orcutt’s #3 doubles team).

Laguna @ Carpinteria (10-8)

The Owls had a very tight match with the Warriors from Carpinteria, with the edge going to Laguna through superior singles play. Alex Furukawa swept (6-1, 6-0, 6-0) and Victor Liu and Kai Nakamura each added two set wins. Victor Liu played his best match as an Owl, fighting deep into his second-round match against Carp’s second best player to pull out a 7-5 victory.

Doubles struggled against Carpinteria’s top two teams, unable to take a single set, but got by the Carp #3’s with relative ease to provide the three sets needed to clinch the match without counting up games.

Laguna v. Nordhoff (13-5)

Singles play was led again by junior Alex Furukawa, who won his sets 6-2, 6-0, 6-0. Freshman Kai Nakamura added a 6-2, 7-5, 6-0 sweep of his own. Alex and Kai were super-solid all day long. Nordhoff’s top two players were both very consistent, but our guys broke them down with a combination of steadiness and willingness to go on the attack at the right moments.

The Rangers’ top doubles pairing Mikel Elizalde and Elias Simon eked out a tight 7-5 tie-break win in the first round against Laguna’s Victor Liu and Jason Barnick en-route to a sweep on the day. Laguna won all the remaining doubles sets, with two wins from Liu/Barnick and another four wins spread across four doubles combinations including players: John-Henry Schulz, Kelvin Chen, Rhami Zeini, Kovid Mishra, Peter Smith, and Jack Stein.

Laguna, now 6-1, will face Oxnard/Pacifica High School at home on Thursday. The Owls dropped an 8-10 decision against Pacifica last year while playing short several players, but will look to flip the script with a full lineup this time around. Laguna will also face the Thacher school next Tuesday before the beginning of Spring Break.

IMG_9119