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Rested Santa Margarita dances off with D2 title
CLAREMONT – Curfew on Thursday was 9:30 p.m. for the seniors on Santa Margarita’s boys tennis team.
That check-in time wasn’t put in place by Eagles coach Doug Williams nor by the players’ parents.
The curfew was self-imposed.
Santa Margarita’s veterans had been on a mission since the season started in February, and not even the school’s Senior Prom on Thursday night was going to get in the way of their drive to win a CIF-SS championship.
While they might have missed out on some fun with classmates the night before, the Eagles made lifelong memories Friday afternoon, topping San Clemente, 11-7, to win the Division 2 final at Claremont Club.
“My hat is off to our seniors,” Williams said at the conclusion of the match. “This is a special group. When we found out at the end of last year that our league was going to be put in Division 2 this season – by no means was anything definite – but we felt like we had a shot.
“That’s kind of been the idea in the offseason, that this was a doable thing.”
The victory over its South County counterparts gave Santa Margarita (25-3) its first CIF tennis championship, and extended the Eagles’ winning streak to 20 consecutive matches.
“I’ve been with all the seniors for four year, and right now we’re basically just speechless,” Eagles No. 1 singles player Ryan Dugan said. “It really hasn’t hit us yet. Getting that final set to get us the win, I can’t even describe it, I was just so happy.”
With the Eagles sweeping the Tritons, 9-0, in doubles, it was Dugan who went 2-1 on the singes side to put Santa Margarita over the top.
The two schools split the first round, 3-3, with San Clemente grabbing three single sets and Santa Margarita taking the doubles points.
Dugan’s 6-1 win over Michael Bott in the second round broke the back-and-forth, and gave the Eagles the first lead of the day, 7-5, headed into the final round.
“We knew we probably had the stronger doubles and they had the stronger singles,” Williams added. “We were hoping that one or two singles sets put us over the top, and that’s kind of what it was.”
Seniors Ricky Kurtz and Max Boice led the doubles charge with wins of 6-2, 6-0 and 6-3. The Tyler McDonald-Connor Ambrose pair and the Jordan Geis-Erik Radovic duo also went unbeaten to help secure the title.
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