PALOS VERDES — The Burroughs High boys' tennis coaches hatched a plan they hoped would help their team win its CIF Southern Section Division II quarterfinal match Tuesday against Chadwick.
With key players injured, the coaches decided to stack the doubles and put two reserve players at singles, essentially giving up six sets. For the plan to work, however, the Indians' doubles squads would likely have to win eight of nine sets against the Dolphins.
The Burroughs doubles teams did exactly what was asked of them, as they captured eight sets to spark the Indians to a 10-8 victory at the Peninsula Roquet Club.
"I guess our plan worked out pretty well," Burroughs Coach Roy Bernhardt said. "With some of our players not at 100%, we decided to put them in doubles so they could hopefully help us. That was the only way we figured we could probably get the win."
The victory puts the Indians (13-2) into the semifinals for the second-straight season after advancing to their first final four in 2011. Burroughs will take on a familiar foe on the road. The Indians will face No. 1-seeded Palm Desert, last year's division champion, at 3 p.m. Tuesday. Palm Desert easily won its quarterfinal Tuesday against Arroyo Grande, 16-2.
In last season's semifinal, Burroughs lost to the Aztecs, 14-4.
"I'm hearing that Palm Desert might not be as strong as they were last season," Bernhardt said. "But I know they will still have a good team.
"I think it was easier for us to get to the semifinals last year, but I think we have a stronger team this season."
The match came down to the last set. Burroughs' doubles tandem of Michael Whelan and Wen Yao Lin took on Bryan Reshlo and Riley Loftus. In the midst of the set, while two other sets were concluded, it was determined that the Indians and Dolphins were tied in total games, 64-64. That meant that Chadwick (10-6) could take the match if its doubles team was victorious.
Whelan and Yao didn't waver under the pressure, earning a 6-3 victory. The pair also notched 7-6(7-3), 6-0 wins.
Also coming through with a sweep was the Burroughs pair of Phillip Lam and Kevin Hoang, which went, 6-3, 6-3, 6-0.
Hoang said the team's two doubles squads were able to keep their composure despite the pressure of knowing they had to come through with wins.
"Coming in there was already pressure on us," said Hoang, who teamed up with Lam to win a Pacific League title this season. "We knew this was going to be tough, we just had to come out and do our jobs."
One of the Burroughs players who was nursing an injury was Calvin Fox. Although Fox was the league runner-up in singles his season, blisters on his racquet hand forced him to play doubles. With partner Sawyer Patterson, the duo went, 6-3, 2-6, 6-0.
"My hand is still hurting, but it's a lot easier for me to play doubles than it is to play singles," Fox said. "In doubles, I don't have to use my forehand as much, and I can rely more on my backhand.
"We just wanted to come out today and show our fighting spirit. That's what we had to do."
Perhaps the most competitive match of the afternoon pitted Burroughs' top singles player, Garrett Auproux, who came in with a 35-0 record, against Chadwick's No. 1 singles player Max Hawkins, who was 44-4 on the year. Auproux enjoyed leads of 2-1 and 4-3 until Hawkins won the next set to tie the contest at 5. Hawkins then held serve at 6-5 and was up, 40-30, in the next game. Auproux hit a shot out and Hawkins walked away with a 7-5 victory.
Auproux was able to recover, however, to capture his next two sets by 6-0 scores.
The match started out close, as the teams were tied, 3-3, and the end of the first of three rounds. Burroughs took a lead heading into the final round at 7-5.