Owls Get Big Win Over Villanova to End Season

Laguna Blanca boys’ tennis picked up their best win of the season in their final league match, taking a 12-6 victory over visiting Villanova.

How the Match Unfolded

The Owls struck first with 6-0 victories from Aden Meisel at #3 singles and from Ben Rodgers/Keanu Nakamura at #3 doubles. Seniors Nic Richmond and Ryan Purkait continued their dominance over Tai-Valley League opponents with a 6-3 win over the Villanova #1’s before Timmy Quest finally broke the Laguna stranglehold on the match with a victory at #1 singles.

Junior Kai Suzuki and sophomore/freshman combo Cody Busch-Weiss/Jake Gidney found themselves locked in tight sets at the #2 positions. Suzuki squandered a 5-2 lead, going down 5-6 before righting the ship and taking a gutsy 7-2 tie-breaker against Tristan Montecino, a tournament-level player at Nova #2. Busch-Weiss and Gidney rallied to take their own tie-breaker, winning 8-6 and giving Laguna a 5-1 lead after the first round-of-play.

Laguna continued to roll in doubles, finishing with a eight sets on the day, while the singles results were more mixed. Meisel and senior Andreas Jackson both battled to 4-6 losses against Montecino and Quest, currently ranked in the top-200 in the country was unstoppable. However, Jackson and third-round substitute George Nicks both took wins against the Villanova #3 position to bring the singles to 4-5 overall and assure a healthy victory margin for the Owls.

The win means the Owls finish the season with a winning record for the 10th consecutive year, going 3-2 in what was a COVID-shortened season.

Coach Thorpe’s Comments

This was definitely our strongest showing on the season. We were disappointed to be short our two strongest players in our match against Foothill Tech a few weeks back and they managed to get to our Cate match last week, but had to play on guts alone after two weeks off the courts. Now that we’re back to full strength and had that tight Cate match under our belts, I had a feeling the guys were going to pick up a big win today and they did not disappoint!.

Villanova has two very strong singles players and they’d gone 8-10 against Cate just like us, so I honestly thought there was a good chance we’d be counting games at the end of the day to decide the winner. We really showed our depth though, with doubles utterly dominant and singles holding their own. Kai played like an absolute beast early against their #2, but it was the way he recomposed himself when he lost the 5-2 lead and faced a match point that impressed me most.

What’s Next for the Owls

While the team season is now complete, a small contingent of players will continue on to Tai-Valley League Individuals next Wednesday at Villanova High School, where Richmond and Nicks are likely to be the #1 seed in the doubles draw.

Cate Girls Record Clean Sweep in Final Tri-Valley League Match

Cate moves to 4-1 on the season with an 18-0 victory at Villanova High School today in Ojai.

It was the final league match of the season and therefore that last official match for senior captains Fritze Mayer and Yuki Kobayashi. Madeline Vanica will also graduate from the program this season, after being a four-year varsity player.

Mayer and partner Emily May continued their unbeaten streak this season (13-0) without dropping a single game. Kobayashi partnered with Nikita Nautiyal at the #2 spot and Julianna Forry and Sophie Alijani played #3 in what was a 9-0 doubles win for the Servons.

In singles, Aminah Hill and Caroline Batchelder shared the #1 slot, with Hill taking a 6-0 first-round win, while Batchelder took 7-6 and 6-1 victories in the remaining rounds.

junior Ellie Tunnell and sophomore Ella Chang also took convincing wins in singles play, dropping just six games between them in six sets-of-play.

Cate will play an exhibition match at Thacher on Saturday at 3pm before turning their attention towards league individuals on Monday.

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