Until this season, the Edison High boys’ tennis team had never made the playoffs in coach Dave Lemons’ 12-year tenure.
The Chargers took advantage of the switch from the six-team Sunset League to the eight-team Sunset Conference this season. They won the Wave League title, the program’s first league crown since 1993.
Once they got into the postseason, the Chargers decided to stay awhile, too.
There were no tears after Edison lost to Walnut 11-7 in a CIF Southern Section Division 2 quarterfinal playoff match Monday at home.
“Before every match [of the playoffs], we said, ‘It’s been a great season and everything from here on out is gravy,’” Lemons said. “’Let’s just go have some fun and play some tennis.’ We said the same thing today. I think everyone left today a little bit upset, but looking back on a great season. Everyone’s really, really happy with what we did.”
Edison (13-10), which upset No. 3-seeded Tesoro 10-8 in the first round and beat West Torrance by the same score in the second round, did have highlights on Monday. Sophomore Jason You improved to 9-0 at No. 1 singles in the postseason. You easily swept, 6-2, 6-1, 6-3.
Seniors Ryan Lum and Logan Sherouse also earned a sweep at No. 1 doubles for the Chargers, 6-0, 6-3, 6-2. But Edison would win just one more set from the rest of its players.
Coach Lee Shiomoto said that Walnut (20-2), the Hacienda League champion, advanced to the CIF semifinals for the first time in program history. The Mustangs showcased their depth, as senior Brandon Wong, junior Lucas Van Zee and sophomore Jimmy Liu each won twice in singles.
Walnut led 4-2 after the first round. A key set was at No. 2 doubles, where Walnut’s Eric Liang and Ahren Van Zee rallied from a 5-4 deficit to claim a 7-5 win over Edison seniors Nick Beebe and Blake Hepburn.
“We’ve had a couple of matches now where our ones get swept, both in singles and doubles, but our twos and threes carry us through,” Shiomoto said. “Our singles players are grinders. Usually by that third round, we outlast the other team and we usually pull like a 4-2 [advantage] in that third round. It just goes to show that our singles can grind, and they’re in for the long haul.”
Edison tried to tie the match in the second round, but Liang and Ahren Van Zee again came up large. Down 3-2 to Edison senior Chris Nero and junior Brandon Pham, they won four straight games to complete the comeback.
Beebe and Hepburn won one doubles set for Edison, defeating Ronald Chen and Samuel Liu 6-1 in the second round.
“I think our doubles are pretty deep as well,” Lemons said. “We play against each other and it doesn’t matter what day, somebody else can win. Sometimes our threes can play better than our ones and vice versa … We just lost a couple against their No. 2s that we had a chance in those sets. We just let it kind of pass by us, unfortunately.
“We didn’t play bad today. We just played not as good as we could at precise spots, and the better team today won. They played better across the board. They deserve to move on, and we wish them all the luck.”
The season is not over for the doubles team of Lum and Sherouse, who were Wave League doubles finalists, as well as Wave League singles champion You in singles. The three players will compete in the CIF Southern Section Individuals tournament, beginning May 16 at a site to be determined.
“It was a great season,” Lum said. “It’s tough to end my last match here like that, and Logan’s last match as well, but at least Jason still has two more years.”
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