PASADENA — The reaction of Flintridge Prep's players after hearing news that teammate William Dixon's set clinched the victory in their league opener spoke volumes.
The Rebels had been struggling coming into Prep League boys' tennis play, making Friday afternoon's match with Pasadena's Poly crucial not only for the team's sliding win-loss record, but for salvaging confidence levels, as well.
"It's very important to get this win," said Rebels Coach Ron Catano after the 12-6 win over the Panthers at Pasadena City College. "We had been losing a lot so our confidence wasn't good, and this will give the guys who had been struggling a boost."
Flintridge Prep (3-6, 1-0) led, 9-6, in sets and held the advantage in points when Dixon submitted his 7-5 score over Poly's William Clary.
Even with a comfortable advantage and well on its way to prevailing, the squad that had been struggling breathed a rare sigh of relief and rejoiced after the win was officially in the books.
Dixon, the Rebels' No. 3 singles player lost to Poly's No. 1 AJ Singh and had to come back from 5-2 and 5-3 deficits to defeat Clary and Andrew Rys de Perez by 7-5 scores.
Flintridge Prep's No. 1 singles competitor, Alex Wood, didn't need to battle back from any daunting deficits, as he finished the day with a 6-0, 6-1, 6-2 sweep.
"I just wanted to play my game," Wood said. "It was a little windy, so I tried to play with good margins on my shots."
Ryan Hyun, who subbed for No. 2 Koby Hayashi, defeated Singh, 6-1, with Hayashi splitting his two sets, 1-6, 6-2.
The Rebels' No. 2 duo of Kent Byun and Eric Kazangian did their part in the doubles game, beating Sahil Shah and Matt Rossi, Sachin Puri and Matt Johnson and G.R. Shao and Hunter Whitaker-Morrow, each by a 6-3 score.
Prep's David Chou and Albert Lee finished their day with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 effort.
Flintridge Prep won the final four sets of the match, including Dixon sealing it, followed by Hyun and Wood taking care of their respective third sets.
"It's good to get off to a good start in league," Wood said. "And it's always good to beat Poly."