NEWHALL — There is reason for the members of the San Marino boys' tennis team to feel like they have oversized targets on their backs.
Along with being the No. 1 team in the CIF Southern Section Division II playoffs, the Titans also have yet to be beaten this season and they came into Friday's second-round match having blanked their fair share of opponents in dominating fashion.
If the Titans were under any pressure to live up to their lofty accomplishments it certainly didn't show Friday, as they were able to knock off host Hart in relatively easy fashion to the tune of an 18-0 victory.
"When you're No. 1 you're going to have a target on your back, sure," San Marino doubles player Nicolas Sphchel said. "But we are just focused on winning the match that we're playing and we can't think about things like that."
San Marino (16-0) — the Rio Hondo League champion — which moved down from Division I this season, earned a spot in the quarterfinals and will play at 3 p.m. Monday at home against either Esperanza or St. Margaret's.
"I told the guys that things are only going to get tougher from this point on," said Titans Coach Melwin Pereira, whose team defeated Walnut, 18-0, in its playoff opener Wednesday. "We are going to have to be ready and we have to keep playing our best."
The only drama of the match against the Indians (15-7) — the runner-up from the Foothill League — came in the final set, as Hart was trying to avoid the shutout. However, the Titans' doubles team of Mark Lew and Jacob Lui was able to pull out a 7-6 (7-5) victory to complete the goose egg.
In singles, No. 2 Daniel Gealer earned 6-0, 6-0, 6-1 wins and No. 3 Ryan Cheng posted 6-1, 6-0, 6-0 victories. At No. 1, league champion James Wade won his two sets, 6-0, 6-0, before giving way to Jason Wang, who was also up to the task, 6-0.
In doubles, the No. 1 duo of Robert Carter and Timothy Duong had 6-3, 6-1 results before giving way to Matthew Hsian and Arthur Wicke, who went, 6-2. The No. 2 squad of Sphchel and Derek Chen won, 6-0, 6-0, 6-0. In the other doubles, Lew teamed up with Vincent Cheng to win, 6-0, then paired with Benjamin Yee to win, 6-1, before teaming with Lui to win the tiebreaker.
"We know that being the No. 1 seed doesn't mean a whole lot," Wade said. "You still have to go out and win. We have played some good teams this year and that's what's really helped us now that we're in the playoffs. We just have to keep it going."