Boys' Tennis: CdM into quarters

LOS ANGELES — The UCLA men's tennis head coach watched the start of Friday's CIF Southern Section Division 1 second-round match, and it had nothing to do with recruiting.

Billy Martin has his Bruins top-seeded in the NCAA Tournament. But he took time out Friday to watch his son, Travis, a senior doubles player for Los Angeles Loyola.

"He's such a talented leader and athlete," Loyola Coach Brian Held said of Travis Martin, his team's only senior starter. "He also plays hockey."

Perhaps fittingly, CdM Coach Jamie Gresh issued a bit of a verbal cross-check to his team after the Sea Kings beat Loyola, 13-5, at UCLA's Sycamore tennis courts.

No. 2-seeded Corona del Mar (20-2), which will play at Manhattan Beach Mira Costa in Monday's quarterfinals, won just five of nine sets in doubles Friday. The No. 1 team of Carson Williams and Josh Kliger swept, but the No. 2 and 3 teams each won just one set.

"For the most part, doubles wasn't where it needed to be today," Gresh said. "They kind of came out and had more intensity than us, and that's a big part of doubles, intensity."

Gresh refused to use a long trip up the 405 Freeway as an excuse.

"If anything, [playing on the road] heightens your senses, because you're at a different place, you're at nice courts on the UCLA campus," he said. "If anything, you should be more geared up and ready to play, because it's something out of the ordinary … Our doubles is definitely going to have to play better."

CdM played without sophomore Chaz Downing, normally the Sea Kings' No. 2 singles player. Gresh said Downing is playing at a tournament in Surprise, Ariz.

"It depends on how he does [in the tournament]," Gresh said when asked if Downing would be available for CdM going forward. "I'll know Sunday what his status is."

CdM led Loyola (10-8), which tied for second place in the Mission League, just 3-2 in the first round. But then Williams and Kliger won a crucial set at No. 1 doubles, 6-4, over the Cubs' Martin and Mike Karamardian.

The Sea Kings then swept in the second round to clinch the match.

Held elected not to stack his team in doubles, but the Cubs still played well with their normal doubles teams. He said his team fed off the energy from a close first-round match, as the Cubs won at Santa Margarita, 10-8, on Wednesday. Anthony Bonvino and Ryan Verbiest won a pair of doubles sets against CdM.

"We were really excited to win a match, and we came into this match kind of with that energy," Held said. "Any time a team's in playoffs and you advance, there's just an excitement that's really special for any team's journey. I'm just glad these guys got to experience it. We haven't advanced out of the first round in a couple of years, so it was special for us.

"We were close to going three-all. Our doubles just played really strong today. CdM is just very top-heavy, and their top kids are just really stellar."

CdM senior Alec Adamson did not lose a game in singles, winning his three sets 6-0, 6-0, 6-0. Bjorn Hoffmann also easily swept, and Ryan Andrews won twice before he was subbed out due to a sore shoulder.

"I was just playing my game today," said Hoffmann, an emerging freshman who was bumped up a spot in singles with Downing out. "I was definitely using my forehand to open up the court. I just played well. Chaz has been gone a couple of times, so I'm used to having to move up. Yeah, there's a little more pressure on being No. 2, but I thought I handled it well."

There is pressure on CdM as well, as the Sea Kings want to win twice more and get back to the Division 1 finals at The Claremont Club.

"We need to just keep doing what we're doing," Hoffmann said. "We've all been really focused lately. I think we need to keep that focus and intensity, and hopefully we can make it to the finals."

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World