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Villa Park depth too much for El Toro
VILLA PARK - The great thing about the first round of the postseason is that, more often than not, you get the opportunity to watch an individual player who carried his team to the playoffs square off against a group of players who all contributed to a postseason berth.
Exhibit A: El Toro at Villa Park on Wednesday afternoon.
Despite losing all three singles sets to Chargers standout Jayson Amos, Villa Park (14-6) won all but two others in a 13-5 victory that nudged the Spartans into the second round of the CIF-SS Division 2 playoffs for the seventh consecutive year.
"We have a very steady team, no superstars, just a very deep team," Spartans coach Mike Lee said. "That's what killed us in the (Century League) finals, everybody did well, but nobody made it past the quarters.
"The good thing about it is everyone comes to play and compete every day."
Villa Park's No. 1 doubles team of Paul Yim and Matt Woodside swept its three sets as part of the host's 8-1 doubles edge over El Toro (8-8).
"We don't have a weak link in our lineup," Lee said. "I'm confident I can get anyone on the team to play doubles and that's actually our key, all our doubles are strong."
Aside from three losses to Amos, four different Villa Park singles players accounted for five victorious sets.
"It's really tough every day in practice because all three of our singles guys are even," Lee said. "It's difficult to make a consistent lineup because at any time our No. 1 can lose to our No. 3."
After claiming four of six sets in the first round, the Spartans dropped single sets in the second and third rounds.
As for El Toro, steady improvement throughout the season has given the Chargers reason to look forward to next season.
"We've gotten consistently better all season," Amos said. "I've seen improvement in everybody. We have quite a few guys coming back so I'm looking forward to playing with them for another season."
By winning the Sea View League singles title two weeks ago, Amos' season will continue next week with the start of the CIF individuals tournament.
"Throughout the season I've been able to stay focused consistently," he said. "My mental focus has gotten better from playing all these matches in a row."
Villa Park will face either Arroyo Grande or Oxnard on Friday at 3 p.m. with a coin flip determining the location.