Corona del Mar High’s Logan Friedman returns a backhand against Beckman’s Dongkyu Kim in Wednesday’s season opener on the road.(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)
Corona del Mar High’s John Dick, left, hugs Logan Friedman after Friedman beat Beckman’s Dongkyu Kim in Wednesday’s final set of a nonleague match.(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)
Corona del Mar’s Max Krykunenko returns a forehand against Beckman’s Daniel Choi during a nonleague match on Wednesday.(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)
Corona del Mar’s Kyle Pham returns a shot against Beckman’s Ethan Loi during a nonleague match on Wednesday.(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)
Corona del Mar coach Jamie Gresh, right, talks with Logan Friedman during a set against Beckman’s Dongkyu Kim on Wednesday.(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)
Corona del Mar coach Jamie Gresh and his team cheer for Logan Friedman during a set against Beckman’s Dongkyu Kim on Wednesday.(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)
Welcome to high school tennis, Logan Friedman.
The Corona del Mar High freshman played his first high school match Wednesday, as the Sea Kings traveled to take on former Pacific Coast League rival Beckman in their season opener.
His mother, Danielle (Scott), a former CdM standout herself who went on to be a two-time All-American at the University of Arizona and play on the pro tour, watched in the stands as Logan went to work. Neither could know that the match would actually come down to Logan’s last set.
He was playing Beckman junior Dongkyu Kim in his final set, and the Sea Kings needed a victory. A 5-1 lead for Friedman suddenly became 5-4, but he steadied himself.
Friedman held serve as CdM escaped with a 9-9 (77-74 on games) victory.
“I fought OK,” Logan Friedman said. “It was pretty fun. I don’t really get too nervous. I was just focusing on playing, just focusing on each point.”
Senior Kyle Pham, last year’s Daily Pilot Dream Team Player of the Year, swept 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 at No. 1 singles for CdM despite battling sickness. The Sea Kings needed the games against Beckman (6-2).
“I still got it done,” said Pham, who often coughed in-between points. “I played well today, actually.”
CdM has left the Pacific Coast League for the Surf League, where it will vie against Los Alamitos, Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach. The Sea Kings won Wednesday even as coach Jamie Gresh said standout sophomore Bradley Amor was out sick.
Gresh said CdM’s goals are to win league and advance to at least the CIF Southern Section Division 1 quarterfinals. That’s the round CdM reached last season, losing 9-9 (81-77 on games) to Manhattan Beach Mira Costa.
This year’s team is younger, as graduate Diego Fernandez del Valle now plays at Concordia University and the No. 1 doubles team of Jacob Cooper and Ryan Wessler also graduated. Cooper and Wessler went 56-10 together in doubles as seniors last year.
Seniors Tyler Hollander and Luke Muradliyan, a returning doubles team, won once Tuesday at No. 1 doubles. Senior Matt Lobel and junior John Dick won twice at No. 2 doubles, while seniors Alex Kermani and Wesley Davies won once at No. 3 doubles.
Friedman won twice in singles, where the Sea Kings also started another freshman, Max Krykunenko. He battled, pushing Kim to a tiebreaker in the first round, but failed to win a set.
“It’s definitely different,” Pham said. “We have a younger team this year. I think we can do pretty well, moving over to the [new] league.”
Seniors Lucas Le and Bryce Chieu-Chin swept at No. 1 doubles for Beckman, improving to 17-1 this season, coach Nick Friendt said. Freshman Daniel Choi won twice at No. 1 singles.
CdM was tied with Beckman 3-3 after the first round and fell behind 7-5 after the second. The Sea Kings were still down 8-7 in the final round, but Pham blanked Beckman’s Ethan Loi 6-0 before Friedman’s victory over Kim.
Friendt said that even with CdM out of the Pacific Coast League, he plans to continue to put the Sea Kings on the schedule.
“That’s a good match for us today, a great match for us,” Friendt said. “The Pacific Coast League was the elite league in the nation with CdM in it. With them out and Portola in, obviously it changes the dynamic a little, but we’ll continue to play CdM because they’re an elite team. We’ll keep the old Pacific Coast League relationship and rivalry alive.”
CdM hosts another former league rival, University, on Thursday at 3:15 p.m.