Peninsula win stops boys’ tennis

Doubles problems hounded the boys’ tennis team into an 11-7 loss to Peninsula high school in the CIF semifinals, ending the teams’ season two rounds shorter than they had hoped.
The loss last Tuesday extended the team’s, and the school’s, current drought of CIF championships to exactly two years.

Although the team had played and beaten Peninsula by a narrow margin earlier in the year, Peninsula shut out the doubles teams in last week’s match, forcing the Wolverines’ three singles players to have to win their individual pairings for the team to have a chance to win the match.

Peninsula’s number one singles player managed to take one set each from two of Harvard-Westlake’s singles players, Michael Vann ’07 and Jordan Abergel ’07 to seal the win.

In the previous match, the Wolverines were able to win a few of the doubles sets en route to a 9-9 (73-62) victory March 1.

“I felt like they really came in with a good plan,” number one singles player Ryan Thacher ’08, who is one of the top-ranked juniors in the country, said. “They put a lot of their better players in doubles, and they were hoping to win 9, which they did.”

“Even with them stacking their doubles team, we still could have won two or three doubles matches,
and every doubles match was winnable,” Vann said. “We could have stacked our teams too, but we had faith in [our doubles].”

The team entered the playoffs as the favorite, having captured the number one ranking in Division I by going undefeated in the regular season, with wins over the previous number one ranked team, University Irvine, and third-ranked Santa Barbara.

After winning their first three matches by no less than 10 sets each, including a 17-1 win over San Marcos in the quarterfinals, the team would have appeared to have a clear path to the title, as the only other teams that remained were teams which had already lost to the Wolverines.

However, Peninsula improved enough to hand them their second CIF semi-final loss in as many seasons. Last year, the team entered the playoffs favored as well, but went on the road and lost to Dana Hills in the CIF finals.

“This year was a bit more disappointing,” Thacher said. “We were the favorites. Last year, even with the number one-seed, I felt like we were the underdogs and that they were slightly a better team.”and every doubles match was winnable,” Vann said. “We could have stacked our teams too, but we had faith in [our doubles].”