Burroughs tennis starts playoffs in tough Division I

The previous two seasons, the Burroughs High boys' tennis team was able to play its way to two straight appearances in the CIF Southern Section Division II semifinals.

In both years, the Indians were paced by talented singles player Garrett Auproux, who captured two straight Pacific League singles titles while being named the All-Area Singles Player of the Year twice.

However, the Indians knew their postseason road was going to get more difficult this season when they were moved up to challenging Division I, where some of the most talented teams in the nation preside.

If that wasn't enough, Burroughs was dealt a big blow when Auproux was lost for the remainder of the season two months ago after breaking his leg in two places.

Even without Auproux, the Indians were able to win the Pacific League championship.

Now, Burroughs will focus on the playoffs, which will begin Wednesday. The Indians have a 3 p.m. home match against the winner of a Tuesday wild-card match between Simi Valley and Marina.

"The playoffs is the time you really need a player like Garrett," Burroughs Coach Roy Bernhardt said. "But we will just have to go at it without him."

The Indians (13-0) have their share of talent, as they proved in the Pacific League tournament last week, claiming the singles and doubles championships.

"We do have some very good players, but we just don't have a lot of depth," Bernhardt said. "We have strong singles and a good No. 1 doubles, but our No. 2 and No. 3 doubles teams are a bit weaker. That just puts a lot more pressure on our singles and our best doubles team."

After Auproux went down, sophomore Sawyer Patterson stepped in nicely and assumed the No. 1 role. Patterson went undefeated in Pacific League play and captured the title in the league individual tournament.

Although they played singles most of the season, Bernhardt teamed up Calvin Fox and Michael Whelan for league tournament doubles competition. Despite being the fourth seed, the duo went on to win the title.

Fox and Whelan defeated Burroughs' No. 1 doubles team, Kevin Hoang and Wen Yao Lin, in the semifinals of the tournament.

The Indians' first-round opponent will be either a Simi Valley (14-6), a team that placed fourth in the Marmonte League, or a Marina (12-8) squad that is an at-large team from the Sunset League.

"I don't know anything about either of those teams," Bernhardt said. "I know Division I is going to be really tough. But I'm hoping we can go at least two rounds in the playoffs."

A win would put Burroughs into a second-round match Friday against either San Marcos (12-7; No. 3 from the Channel League) or Mira Costa (17-3; No. 2 from the Bay League).

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