Boys’ tennis loses in CIF

After completing a successful regular season, the boys’ tennis team met a fate similar to the one it faced last year in the playoffs. The Wolverines, who finished 16-5 overall and 9-0 in league play, lost to familiar foe Peninsula in the CIF quarterfinals at home May 13.

The 8-10 season-ending loss was reminiscent of last year’s 7-11 playoff loss to Peninsula in the semifinals. Although the fifth-ranked Wolverines were considered underdogs in the match against the fourth-ranked Panthers, Head Coach Chris Simpson and several players agreed that they were capable of winning.

“I believed that if we did everything right against Peninsula, we could win,” Simpson said. The team got a taste of Peninsula’s strong doubles play in another 8-10 loss April 21.

“In both matches against Peninsula, we had opportunities for it to go completely the other way,” Alex Wittenberg ’08 said.

“I think we could have beaten them,” Joey Friedrich ’09 said. “It pretty much came down to our doubles.” 

The team lost the first round of the quarterfinal 2-4, getting swept in doubles play. In an effort not to repeat last year’s semifinal loss, in which they were swept 9-0 in doubles, the team then began to turn things around.

In the second round, the team won two out of three in doubles. In the final round, the team needed at least four more sets to win the match, but it only won three.

Despite the playoff exit, the Wolverines reached several milestones this season. After losing star power with the departure of Michael Vann ’07 and Jordan Abergel ’07, the team put together an impressive streak of victories. This included the culmination of a five year, 100-match win streak and their ninth consecutive undefeated season in Mission League. The team shut out San Marcos 18-0 in the first round of CIF May 8, and defeated Santa Margarita 16-2 in the second round May 10.

“We didn’t have the raw talent or depth that past teams had. But it was definitely my most enjoyable season because we had to work that much harder,” Wittenberg said.
Among the four starters who will graduate this year is Stanford bound Ryan Thacher ’08, the nation’s top ranked 18-under singles player.

“I expect him to explode onto the NCAA scene and be one of the top freshmen next year,” Simpson said.