Search:
KYUSUNG GONG , STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
San Clemente's Michael Bott celebrates his point during the CIF-SS Division 2 semifinals match against Arcadia on Wednesday.

San Clemente triumphs in wild battle to the finish

STAFF WRITER

SAN CLEMENTE - San Clemente sophomore Michael Bott was perhaps his own worst enemy during a CIF-SS Division 2 boys tennis semifinal against Arcadia on Wednesday.

Battling leg cramps deep into his third set against freshman Nicholas Figueira, Bott’s limited mobility led to a heightened number of unforced errors, most of which came in deciding points.

With Arcadia leading, 9-8, San Clemente needed Bott to win the day’s final match. After several long battles, he delivered the victory that gave the Tritons a 9-9 (79-74) win and set up an all-Orange County final against Santa Margarita on Friday at Claremont Club.

The Eagles defeated Sage Hill, 14-4, on Wednesday.

“I’ve cramped up before and I’ve lost, so it was a good barrier especially because it’s a big match,” said Bott, who won the last match, 7-6 (7-3). “(Figueira) didn’t miss, he made me run a lot … but I pulled through and it feels good.”

Knowing the strength of Arcadia’s doubles teams, San Clemente coach John Stephens figured his singles players would have to win at least six sets in order to have a shot at moving on to the final.

Despite losses, Bott and Whitaker wore down Arcadia’s No. 1 Charles Deng with long sets. The result was a critical sweep of Deng by San Clemente’s No. 3, Jay Yeam, who won his sets, 6-1, 6-0, 6-0.

“We’re a great package because we have three guys who can really play,” Whitaker said. “We can wear people down and we can create marathon sets. We back each other up well.”

Bott and Billy Whitaker each went 2-1.

San Clemente (17-2) took two singles and two doubles sets for a 4-2 lead after the first round of matches.

The Apaches (21-1) swept the Tritons in doubles in the second and third rounds to take the lead, leaving it up to San Clemente’s singles to sweep for the win.

Ryan Murphy and Caden Culp earned big points in the third round despite falling, 7-5.

Whitaker and Yeam both earned 6-0 set wins to help the Tritons claim the lead in points. At the time, Bott was down, 3-2, and developing leg cramps.

His perseverance and patience were as big as his slicing backhand and devastating forehand in helping San Clemente to the finals.

“That was a total gut check on his part. He knew that the match was on his shoulders,” Stephens said. “It’s a huge victory.”


See archived 'Sports' stories »
 


Other Varsity coverage:
Inland Empire
Search Players


Water Polo:

Foothill 5, Newport Harbor 7 - 00:00 4th QT - Completed

Football:

Santa Ana 14, Rancho Christian 52 - 01:01 4th QT - Completed

Football:

Calabasas 35, Capistrano Valley 14 - 00:00 4th QT - Completed

Football:

St. John Bosco 21, Mater Dei 14 - 00:33 2nd QT - Completed

Football:

Edison 44, La Mirada 24 - 00:00 4th QT - Completed

Football:

Burbank 21, Yorba Linda 31 - 00:00 4th QT - Completed

Soccer:

El Modena 2, Orange Lutheran 2 - 45:00 2nd Half - Completed

Basketball:

Eisenhower 28, Mater Dei 93 - 02:00 4th QT - Completed

Basketball:

Santa Fe 65, Foothill 53 - 00:00 4th QT - Completed

Football:

Valencia/Valencia 35, San Clemente 41 - 00:00 4th QT - Completed