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Corona del Mar edges Fountain Valley to clinch Surf League boys’ tennis title

The Corona del Mar High boys’ tennis team played four matches this week.

The Sea Kings also played four matches last week.

A reward for the busy schedule came in the fact that coach Jamie Gresh gave the Sea Kings Friday off, heading into their spring break next week.

The bigger reward was that CdM came through Thursday in its biggest match of the season so far.

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The Sea Kings edged Fountain Valley 10-8 to clinch the Surf League title outright. It is CdM’s first league championship since winning the Pacific Coast League in 2006.

Senior Kyle Pham swept at No. 1 singles for CdM (13-6, 5-0 in league), while junior John Dick and sophomore Bradley Amor swept in doubles.

CdM, ranked No. 8 in CIF Southern Section Division 1, earned its second straight 10-8 victory over Fountain Valley (10-5, 3-2), which is tied for ninth in Division 1. The first time around, on March 26 at Fountain Valley, the Sea Kings saved three match points as Dick and Amor won the final doubles set completed.

After the teams’ first match was a bit contentious, Gresh decided to bring two officials to Thursday’s match, which had no issues.

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“I think having officials makes the kids play better, and it keeps the sportsmanship and integrity of the game intact,” Gresh said. “[Fountain Valley coach] Harshul [Patel] was fine with it.”

The teams were tied 3-3 after the first round. It was 2-2 before they split a pair of close sets, one in singles and one in doubles.

CdM freshman Logan Friedman saved a set point, rallying to beat Fountain Valley sophomore Ben Nguyen 7-5. In doubles, Fountain Valley’s Kai Rodriguez and Ninh Nguyen came through for a 7-6 (8-6) win over CdM’s Tyler Hollander and Matt Lobel.

Fountain Valley High’s Justin Nguyen competes against Corona del Mar in a No. 1 singles set during a
Fountain Valley High’s Justin Nguyen competes in a No. 1 singles set of a Surf League match at Corona del Mar on Thursday.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

But CdM took a 7-5 lead after the second round and clinched the match with its 10th set win, before Fountain Valley’s Justin Nguyen edged Friedman 7-6 (7-5) in the final set completed, denying Friedman an impressive sweep.

“It was good to clutch it out today,” Pham said. “We had a contentious match last time, and everyone stayed focused and had good energy out there. Another close one, but we got it done. The doubles did a lot better this week than last week.”

Friedman won twice and the Sea Kings’ other singles freshman, Max Krykunenko, was competitive despite losing 6-4, 6-3, 6-3.

“The freshmen have definitely been playing a lot better than they were in the beginning of the year,” Pham said. “I think it’s all of the matches and experience they’re getting.”

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CdM won five of the nine doubles sets. Hollander and Lobel, as well as Luke Muradliyan and Scott Thompson, won one set each.

Justin Nguyen won two singles sets for the Barons. Vivek Savsani and Jared Nguyen, as well as Kai Rodriguez and Ninh Nguyen, each won twice in doubles.

“A close match again,” Patel said. “Everybody played great. We came up a little short, but the [sets] were awesome. Tough losses, it’s hard, but you’ve got to give credit to the boys. CdM did great again. I think they’re very deep, very solid, and it showed.”

CdM earned the win, and the day off Friday. The Sea Kings return to action when they conclude league play at Los Alamitos on April 16, while Fountain Valley plays at Huntington Beach on Tuesday.

“We’ve played a lot of sets,” Gresh said. “We haven’t had practice in a while, but we’ve played a ton of sets. We knew this was our toughest match on the schedule this week, and I think we played great to end the week and send the guys off with no practice [Friday] for a nice spring break.”

matthew.szabo@latimes.com

Twitter: @mjszabo


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