By Luke Holthouse
Conditioning proved to be the difference between boys’ tennis and Corona Del Mar in the semifinals of Div. I CIF playoffs. The third-seeded Wolverines had a chance to pull off an upset against the Sea Kings, who were ranked as the second best team in the playoff bracket, but floundered in the final round of the match and lost by a score of 12-6.
“We were a little flat,” doubles player Harrison Kalt ’13 said. “The energy was a little low, and I think that was the main difference.”
After winning only one of six sets in the first round of play, the Wolverines took four of six sets in the second round.
The Wolverines had a chance to force a tiebreaker by winning four of six sets in the third and final round.However, the Wolverines dropped five of six sets in the third round.
“We put ourselves in a hole,” Head Coach Chris Simpson said. “We gave ourselves a chance, but you have got to be fit for three matches. If it’s a sunny or hot day, you’ve got to be able to deal with it.”
The Wolverines fell one match short of meeting tennis powerhouse University High School of Irvine in the final round of playoffs for a rematch of last year’s CIF championship.
The Wolverines lost 14-4 last year, and University looks to defend their title against Corona Del Mar in the final today for the third straight year.
Simpson said the team would not have had a strong chance of beating University.
“There’s always University in Irvine that doesn’t graduate anyone,” Simpson said. “They’ll just keep adding silverware unless something shocking happens.”
The Wolverines ended their season with a 23-4 overall record and a perfect 10-0 record in Mission League play, winning their sixteenth straight league championship.
Simpson said the team dominates its league, made up of private schools, but has much tougher competition when it gets to playoffs and has to compete with larger, public schools.
“With the school work, with the late nights, with the other tests and the APs, there are all these things that our kids have to go through a little bit tougher than some of the other public schools,” he said. “We’re in it, we’re the best private high school this decade and we’ll continue to be, but there’s things that we’ll address. Fitness is the number one thing.”
Five members of the team will graduate this June. Top singles players Jackson Frons ’12 will play at Middlebury next year and Jeffrey Bu ’12 will play at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The team’s best doubles pair, Adam Williams ’12 and Jaime West ’12, as well as backup Austin Hopp ’12 will also graduate.
“Overall, I think we had a great season,” Bu said. “It’s just a bad way to end it unfortunately.”
Doubles player Dylan Eisner ’13 said the team should add plenty of talent next year.
He said that freshman Jaird Meyer ’15, Parker Chusid ’15 and Michael Geneder ’15 should make big improvements next year and that the team might also benefit from the services of his younger brother Jared Eisner ’16.
“We had a lot of alternates this year that will be good for our team next year,” Eisner said. “I don’t know if we’ll be better, but I think we’ll be similar.”