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

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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.

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