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Boys tennis: Previews of the Div. 1 and 3 finals
UNIVERSITY (20-0) vs. CORONA DEL MAR (21-3)
Site, date, time: The Claremont Club, Wednesday, 11 a.m.
You don't get to the pinnacle of Division 1 boys tennis -- as two-time defending champion University and Pacific Coast League rival Corona del Mar have this season -- without having enough high-caliber players to fill a pair of All-CIF rosters. Behind CIF-SS and Ojai Valley Tennis Tournament singles champion Gage Brymer and the well-oiled doubles team of Drew Dawson and Ryo Shimizu, the Trojans will take part in their seventh straight CIF-SS team final; an unprecedented run that includes five titles (2006, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011). Conversely, thanks in large part to doubles stalwart Alex Murray and the season-long progressions of Henry Gordon, Alec Adamson and Carson Williams, Corona del Mar returns to the championship match after a nine-year hiatus. The two squads have seen plenty of each other already this season, squaring off twice in league play (University took both matches, 12-6 and 13-5) and once in the midseason Dana Hills Tournament (a championship match the Trojans took 9-0). It's no secret, nothing short of a Herculean effort is going to floor tennis's Goliath. But if there's one team ready, willing and suited to assume the role of David, it's Corona del Mar.
VALENCIA (22-2) vs. WHITNEY OF CERRITOS (22-2)
Site, date, time: The Claremont Club, Wednesday, 11:30 a.m.
Led by UC Irvine-bound Jonathan Hammel, top-seeded Valencia finds itself in the Division 3 final for the fourth consecutive season. The Tigers, who have yet to bring home a CIF-SS title over that span, cruised past Upland (17-1), Oaks Christian (14-4) and Temecula Valley (14-4) before downing St. Margaret's, 10-8, in the semis. Littered throughout a resume that includes a flawless run through the Empire League are narrow victories over Villa Park and El Dorado and equally narrow losses to Diamond Bar and Esperanza. Standing opposite Valencia will be Academy League champion Whitney of Cerritos. The second-seeded Wildcats beat Chaparrel, South Torrance and Long Beach Wilson before dethroning defending champion Sage Hill, 10-8, to reach the championship match. On their way to the round of 32 in last week's CIF-SS Boys Individual Tennis Championships, Whitney's top doubles team of Alex Pham and Gabel Cupino downed top doubles teams from El Dorado and Lakewood.
BRIAN WHITEHEAD, For the Register