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Sage Hill holds off Valencia for Div. 3 tennis title
CLAREMONT – It had to have felt like 112 on two for Valencia’s Daniel Kim and Lindsey Youngquist.
With a mob of Sage Hill students lining the court Wednesday at the Claremont Club, Sage’s Kevin Marshack and Alex Manolakas had to claw back into a title-deciding set. Leading 9-8 but behind in games, Marshack and Manolakas had to win if they wanted to keep Valencia from bringing home the CIF-SS Division 3 boys tennis championship.
Down a break, momentum started to swing their way. Manolakas would make a shot, and the fans would roar. Marshack would put a volley away, and they’d cheer louder. And on the final point of the match, when Sage Hill’s duo secured the title for their school, the crowd went absolutely bananas.
Fans stormed the courts, mobbing Marshack and Manolakas, as their victory clinched the CIF-SS title, beating Valencia, 10-8.
“Tennis is a sport of momentum,” Marshack said. “If things start going your way, you can ride that train all the way through.
“And if you can’t get it going, it’s so hard to get it back. Having all those fans cheering you, it was awesome. It was just great. It’s unreal right now. I’ll remember this forever.”
More than 110 Sage Hill students bused over from the Newport Beach campus to support their team.
Sage Hill got nine of its 10 points from the team of Marshack and Manolakas, the team of Andrew Kurzweil and Ryan Lee and singles star Robbie Simon, all of whom swept their matches.
It’s the second time in two years Valencia has finished second in the tournament.
For Sage Hill, it is the first boys CIF-SS team title the school has won.
“It’s really big,” Sage Hill coach A.G. Longoria said. “We’re very proud to be the first boys sport at CIF to win a title. It’s been a long time coming. We’ve been in the quarterfinals a few times, and we made it to the semifinals a few times.
“Today, we finally broke through. It’s huge for our program, and it’s huge for our school.”