Boys’ Tennis season cut short after undefeated start

Boys’ Tennis season cut short  after undefeated start

Jonah Dickson '20 serves the ball in a 15-3 win at home against Palos Verdes High School on Mar. 3. Credit: Jaidev Pant/Chronicle

After starting the year undefeated heading into league play, the boys’ tennis team’s season officially came to an end when Head of Athletics Terry Barnum announced the cancellation of the spring season Monday.

With his final season officially over, Corey Marley ’20 said he will miss competing with his fellow seniors one last time for a chance at a championship.

“We had so many seniors this year and we were all looking forward to ending our careers on a high note,” Marley said. “Now that it is canceled, it feels kind of weird knowing we’re never gonna get to play together again.”

In its first match of the season, the squad faced University High School, who defeated the Wolverines last season 10-8 May 10 to win the

“The University High School win was huge for us to start the season off after losing to them twice last year in two heartbreaking matches,” Avi Carson ’22 said. “It really set the tone for the season ahead of us.”

The boys then traveled to Texas for the UTR High School Team Tennis Championship beginning Feb. 28. The squad reached the championship where it defeated Westwood High School 6-1 on Feb. 29.

After the win against University, the squad considered Palos Verdes High School to be its biggest threat, Amaan Irfan ’21 said. Last season, the team defeated the Sea Kings 14-4 on May 8 in the CIF-SS Open Division semi-finals. The Wolverines managed to easily defeat the Sea Kings 15-3 March 3, their last game of the season. The boys finished with an overall record of 7-0. Irfan attributes the squad’s success to its drive and solid senior class.

“Our team this year was experienced and super talented and were fueled by our loss in the CIF finals last year,” Irfan said. “This group has also been together for many years now, so we have great team chemistry.”

Pat Otero ’21 said he is disappointed that he will no longer be able to play with the senior class, who he believes was responsible for the team’s success in recent years.

“The cancellation of the season is sad because it was our last opportunity with the seniors who have contributed a lot to the teams success in recent years and who had a chance to maybe win their third ring in their high school career,” Otero said.

Despite the many individual tournaments that lay ahead for the Wolverines, Carson cares most about missing the team CIF playoffs.

“I’m very upset about missing the CIF playoffs because our team was in a great position to make a deep run and possibly win it all, which would’ve been great for all of us, especially after coming so close to winning last year against University High School,” Carson said.

In the end, the team missed all of league play and a chance to compete for an Open Division title. In league play, the boys lost a chance to maintain their dominance and win their 28th straight league title. For playoffs, the squad would have attempted to win its third CIF championship in the last four years.

As of March 9, the boys’ tennis team was ranked first in Division I according to the CIF-SS Boys Tennis Advisory Committee in its final poll of the season. Pat Otero ’21 said he believes the team would have been crowned Open Division champions had the season not been canceled.

“We would have won CIF because all the guys on the team were playing their best tennis and we had beaten the other top three teams in our section decisively,” Otero said.

Heading into next season, the squad will lose seven seniors, three of whom are committed to play in college, including UCLA commit Timothi Li ’20, Colgate University commit Mike Thomas ’20 and Boston University commit Jonah Dickson ’20. Irfan said the team plans to focus on team bonds with the loss of these seniors.

“Next year, we’ll have a bunch of new starters and players, so we’re going to have to build chemistry and make sure we’re ready, even if we’re inexperienced,” Irfan said.

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