Laguna Beach reaches final with a rout

Laguna Beach reaches final with a rout
The Breakers overwhelm Cate, 13-5, and now have a chance to play for the Division II title.

It has been 26 years since Laguna Beach last appeared in a CIF boy tennis championship match.

The program's return wasn't supposed to have come with such a wide margin of victory over its higher-seed opponent. Yet for the second consecutive match, the Breakers pulled off an upset to advance in the CIF-SS Division II playoffs.

With a 13-5 victory over visiting No. 2 Cate of Carpinteria on Tuesday, No. 6 Laguna Beach reached its first final since 1983. Laguna Beach beat No. 3 Whitney of Cerritos, 15-3, last Tuesday.

The Breakers will face Cerritos in the final next Wednesday at the Claremont Club. Laguna Beach's last CIF title came in 1982.

“It's a huge opportunity for our team,” Jake Michaels said. “It hasn't happened in a really long time. We are playing our best tennis of the season. We have a lot of momentum. We are going in there fired up.”

Michaels led a singles lineup that captured all nine singles sets. Michaels won his sets, 6-0, 6-2, 6-1. The sophomore has lost three games in the team's last two victories.

Chris Lavery picked up his sweep, 6-1, 6-3, 6-2, at No. 2 singles, and Benito Romeo won his sets, 6-2, 6-2, 7-5, at No. 3 singles.

“It was just like the Whitney match,” Breakers coach Aaron Talarico said. “They really stepped it up.”

Laguna Beach led, 4-2, after the opening round. However, they blew the match open and took a 9-3 advantage into Round 3.

Michaels said the team had talked about reaching the finals of CIF at the beginning of the season. They head into the final on a hot streak, and keeping it going will be the key.

“These guys were so pumped up today I didn't even have to coach them,” Talarico said. “They showed up.”

In other boys tennis playoff matches:

No. 1 University 13, Harvard-Westlake of North Hollywood 5: The Trojans reached their fifth consecutive CIF-SS Division I final with a victory over the host Wolverines.

University, the two-time defending champion and winner of 54 consecutive matches, faces Thousand Oaks for the championship next Wednesday.

John Huang swept at No. 1 singles for the Trojans. Matt Siow and Reo Asami each grabbed two sets before subbing out in Round 3.

No. 2 Thousand Oaks 11, No. 6 Mater Dei 7: The Monarchs' push toward the final came to an end with the loss to the Lancers.

Mater Dei had knocked off No. 3 Santa Barbara last week to reach the semifinals, and the Monarchs got off to a strong start against Thousand Oaks. The teams were tied at 3 after the opening round and the Monarchs trailed, 7-5, heading into the final round.

However, Thousand Oaks swept the remaining singles sets and moved on to the final.

No. 1 Valencia 13, Vista Murrieta 5:The Tigers clinched the CIF-SS Division III semifinal match by the end of Round 2, taking an 11-1 lead before subbing out most of the starters.

Sean DeYoung and Corey Vuong swept at No. 2 singles. Valencia takes on Claremont in next Wednesday's final at the Claremont Club.

The Tigers have never won a CIF title in boys tennis. The school's only appearance came in 1987.

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