Boys’ tennis advances to CIF semifinals

By Sam Adams

With a convincing 17-1 victory over Palos Verdes in the CIF quarterfinal round at Studio City Golf and Tennis on May 19, the boys’ tennis team defeated a team to which it suffered a tough loss earlier in the season to advance in the playoffs. The team played University School of Irvine, the top-ranked team in the region, in the semifinal round yesterday.

“We were super confident and well prepared [going into the Palos Verdes match],” varsity Head Coach Chris Simpson said. “We had all our players this time, and they were missing a couple of their players. I rested [Jeffrey] Bu ’12 and [Chris] Kenney ’10, which just shows how deep we are. We just had a strong performance all around.”

In the individual playoffs, the doubles team of Kyle Martin-Patterson ’10 and Sean Kesluk ’09 won the Mission League championship in an upset final match against teammates Spencer Suk ’10 and Matt Wagner ’11, who had the top seed going into the league tournament. Both duos advanced to the CIF preliminary round last Friday at Cate High School, and the pair of Martin-Patterson and Kesluk advanced to the semifinal round at Seal Beach on Friday.

“No one really expected Sean and me to beat Spencer and Matt,” Martin-Patterson said. “The first set was rough, but then the two of us really started to gel. Sean was working the net and I was protecting the baseline, and we were really in sync. And at Cate, we played some great tennis together.”

In the singles tournament, Kenney won the Mission League title, but lost in the third round of the CIF playoffs after cramps brought on by his recovery process.

University High, the Wolverines’ opponents in yesterday’s match, are back-to-back CIF champions going for their third consecutive title. However, the team has not despaired.

“We’ve played the toughest schedule,” Simpson said. “We’ve played every top team in the region. University hasn’t played any of the top four teams. We would like to play our part and try to stop them. That requires us playing at really the top of our game. It’s tough to strategize against a team that is so strong across the board.”

The Wolverines had the top seed going into the CIF tournament. In the first round of the CIF playoffs, the squad defeated Westlake by a score of 14-4 in a home match on May 14. The team continued with an 11-7 victory against Woodbridge the following Saturday.

The team’s success came as a pleasant surprise to many of the members, who had, prior to the start of the season, written it off as a developmental year as the four freshmen on the varsity squad grew as players. The preseason goal of the team was to get to the point where they could win the CIF tournament next season.