No. 1 University wins showdown with No. 2 CdM
IRVINE It was No. 1 versus No. 2 in the county rankings. Control of the Pacific Coast League was on the line, and for the first time all season, both squads would trot out a lineup that was at full strength.
The quality of tennis was high, and so too were the emotions.
In the end, the depth of top-ranked University proved to be a little too much for No. 2 Corona del Mar’s star power, as the Trojans won eight of nine doubles sets for an 11-7 victory Wednesday afternoon at University High.
The Trojans (11-1, 4-0) received sweeps from the Josh Piatos-Hans Hwang team at No. 1 doubles, and also received three crucial points from Hudson Graf and Patryk Kozlowski at No. 3 doubles, highlighted by the pair’s 6-2 third round win over CdM’s top duo of Diego Fernandez del Valle and Matt Paulsen.
“We know we’re both kind of putting our pieces together and it’s a new feeling for both of us to see what we can each do, so today was like we were both solving a brand new puzzle,” Trojans coach Kevin Garrett explained. “We’re both experiencing that together, so I think that was part of the emotions. Both teams are showing up at full strength, and that’s what made this match really cool.”
University jumped out to a 4-2 lead after the first round, sweeping in doubles and capturing another point at No. 3 singles behind Garrett Kurtz’s 6-1 showing. The Sea Kings (10-3, 4-1) one-two singles punch of Bjorn Hoffmann and Pedro Fernandez del Valle both swept, accounting for six of the team’s seven points.
The Fernandez del Valle-Paulsen pair grabbed a set in the second round as the team’s split six points, but it was the lone match CdM would steal in doubles play.
Maintaining a 7-5 lead at home headed into the third round, the Trojans swept once again in pairs play and received an insurance point from the singles side.
“Winning one doubles is tough and it shows how deep Uni’s doubles are with those six guys in place,” CdM coach Jamie Gresh said. “They were a little more active than our guys. A little bit steadier. They served a little bigger.
“We had a few close sets, but Uni just showed their depth today.”