Laguna Blanca boys’ tennis will play in the CIF Semifinals for the first time in history after a 13-5 win against visiting Summit High School.
The win puts the Owls amongst the top four teams in CIF D5, alongside West Covina, Westminster, and Geffen Academy.
Summit entered the match as the #9-seed, with an impressive 21-2 record, while Laguna Blanca’s win-loss stood at 13-2.
How it Happened
In the first round, Summit struck first with a 6-1 victory at #1 singles, but Laguna fired back quickly with wins from Kai Suzuki/Cody Busch-Weiss and Ben Rodgers/Davis Ohanian at #1 and #2 doubles. These pairings remain undefeated across the 4 playoff matches, a devastating 1-2-punch that has been pivotal in Laguna’s advance to the semifinals.
Summit struck next with a 6-2 win at #2 singles over junior Kent Dunn, but his good friend and classmate Aden Meisel had the rebuttal ready as he took a comfortable 6-1 win at the #3 position. That left just the #3 doubles set on-court to decide the result of the first round-of-play.
Sophomores Mason Berg and Jake Gidney were locked in a tight battle with their Summit counterparts, going down early, but rallying to take a 5-4 lead with Berg serving.
As the sophomores looked to close out the set, the Summit team got tight with the calls, erasing an ace that would become a double fault at 30-15. There were even calls from the Summit sideline to change the call, but the call stood and Laguna was forced to ask for a line-judge for the first time in the entire season.
Upon restarting the match at 30-all, Berg and Gidney were lazer-focused and quickly took the set with a poach-winner and an unreturnable serve. The 6-4 set gave Laguna a 4-2 lead after the first round-of-play and set the table for what was to become a dominant all-around performance throughout the rest of the match.
On the back of a stellar 6-0 performance from Aden Meisel against the Summit #2, the Owls took the second round 5-1. Senior Owen Pryor added a 6-1 victory and the doubles lineup remained unblemished on the day.
With a 9-3 score and the match all but locked up, Laguna Blanca continued to play hard, taking advantage of every opportunity to hone skills and strategy that will help in the remainder of this season’s playoffs. Owen Pryor took a second win on the day and Kent Dunn chipped in with a 6-1 win over the Summit #3. In doubles, Suzuki/Busch-Weiss and Rodgers/Ohanian cruised, while Berg/Gidney nearly upset the Summit #1 team, conceding 4-6 in the end.
In our pre-match warmup, we always end with a drill called the volley-weave. Today, we made 22-consecutive shots in that drill, with the opposing team looking on. We could hear the other team making nervous comments when we finished and I could sense we’d be bringing our top-level to this match.
This team has arrived. The guys clearly now believe they can go all the way in this CIF Playoffs. It’s something I knew they were capable of as we gathered in mid-February for the pre-season meeting. These guys have worked very hard to get from there to here, and I’m so proud of the poise they have been showing throughout the playoffs.
Also, I want to give a shout-out to parent-support throughout the season, but particularly today. The mango-game was incredibly strong today, which fortified us with the extra energy needed to close out our 4th match-win in 5 school days.
What’s Next for Owls Tennis?
Laguna Blanca will play at West Covina High School at 3pm on Wednesday, May 11th for a shot at the title match in Claremont on Friday.