Corona del Mar High boys’ tennis coach Jamie Gresh called his three doubles teams over for a little pep talk.
Fountain Valley swept all three of the doubles sets in the first round of Tuesday’s Surf League match, and Gresh was not particularly pleased. At No. 1 doubles, CdM junior John Dick and sophomore Bradley Amor went quietly against Fountain Valley senior Vivek Savsani and freshman Jared Nguyen, losing 6-1.
“[Gresh] was not happy at all, with us especially,” Dick said. “We were messing around, I would say, and not playing to the full ability we could. We lost pretty badly to a team that we should have probably beaten. But you know, he talked to us, we tried to get focused and get back in shape.”
A couple of hours later, Dick and Amor had their chance at redemption. They took advantage.
They saved three set points to beat Fountain Valley senior Brian Le and sophomore Nathan Dang 7-6 (8-6) in the final set completed of the day. Their win clinched a 10-8 road victory for CdM.
Dick and Amor were down 5-2 and 40-15, but broke serve in that game. They also saved a set point with Le and Dang up 6-5 in the tiebreaker, as the CdM duo won three straight points for the victory.
CdM (6-4, 2-0 in league) would have lost if the match had gone to games.
“I didn’t know that,” Dick said. “I thought we were up on games. It’s a good thing maybe I didn’t know that, because I might have played those match points even tighter than I was playing. I’m glad we just got through with the win. I think we played tough.”
Senior Kyle Pham swept 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 at No. 1 singles for the Sea Kings, who also got two wins each in doubles from the teams of Dick and Amor, as well as Tyler Hollander and Matt Lobel. The Sea Kings were without Hollander’s usual partner, Luke Muradliyan, who Dick said was out sick.
CdM, coming off a sixth-place finish over the weekend at the Corona del Mar All-American Invitational tournament, edged out the victory over Fountain Valley (9-4, 0-1), last year’s CIF Southern Section Division 2 champion.
This year, CdM is ranked No. 8 in Division 1, while Fountain Valley is tied for ninth. The teams certainly played even Tuesday, though Barons coach Harshul Patel said he was denied his first victory over CdM in his nine-year tenure with the program.
“When you’re up, it doesn’t mean you won the match, you know?” Patel said. “Finishing matches is very important for our players, especially when you’re playing a good team like CdM … We have three rounds, and it’s not over until you finish the last round. You have to be engaged throughout the matches, and we came [up] short, that’s for sure. The credit goes to the CdM boys. When they were down, they hung in there and fought well.”
Senior Justin Nguyen won twice in singles for Fountain Valley, and junior Ryan Trinh won once. Trinh, however, lost another key tiebreaker set to CdM freshman Max Krykunenko to close out the second round, 7-6 (7-4). Krykunenko won twice in singles and fellow freshman Logan Friedman won once.
Krykunenko’s tiebreaker victory over Trinh gave CdM a 7-5 sets advantage after the second round, after trailing 4-2 following the first round.
The doubles teams of Savsani and Jared Nguyen, as well as Kai Rodriguez and Ninh Nguyen, each won twice for Fountain Valley.
CdM plays at Palos Verdes, ranked No. 4 in Division 1, in a key nonleague match Wednesday before returning to Surf League play Thursday with a home match against Los Alamitos.