LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE —Going into Monday’s nonleague match between the St. Francis High and La Cañada boys’ tennis teams, both respective coaches had a good idea of how the event was going to play out.
After all, the Golden Knights’ proven singles competitors have shown stellar play this season, while the Spartans’ experienced doubles pairs have been consistent thus far.
In the end, St. Francis continued its dominant play in singles, but it couldn’t overcome a La Cañada team that won all nine doubles sets to narrowly edge out the Golden Knights, 11-7, at La Cañada.
“That’s what I saw right away,” said Spartans Coach Will Moravec, whose squad has won three straight matches to improve to 3-1. “I knew how good their singles were, so it put pressure on Andre [Danuns]. He had to pick up a couple wins, and it put pressure on our doubles to not have a hiccup.”
Wanting to rest a couple starters, Moravec inserted David Oh and Arthur Song as his No. 2 and No. 3 singles players, respectively. As it turned out, Danuns’ wins were the only two the Spartans picked up, but it proved to be enough as the doubles teams came through.
Danuns went 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.
Golden Knight Kristian Esteve lost just three games in his 6-2, 6-0, 6-1 sweep. John Kazanjian and Alex Kevakian had little trouble getting past La Cañada’s two substitutes and usual doubles competitors Oh and Song, prevailing, 6-1, 6-1, and, 6-0, 6-3 respectively.
“Our singles were good … doubles not so much,” said St. Francis Coach Ron Zambrano, whose team fell to 2-2. “Their doubles are way better than ours, experience-wise. Our doubles know that they have some work to do.”
La Cañada’s doubles teams of Michael Choi and Tyler Jones, Leeho Lim and Harrison Zuk and Liwon Lim with Joe Song all did their part. Lim and Song had the strongest outing with a 6-2, 6-1, 6-0 sweep.
Lim and Zuk weren’t too far behind in their 6-3, 6-1, 6-1 sweep.
St. Francis’ Chris Grovsernor and Andrew Kevakian came closest to taking a set, but ultimately were defeated by La Cañada’s No. 1 team of Choi and Jones, 7-5. The La Cañada duo went on to defeat Darren Kunitake and Daniel Ishmael, 6-1, as well as a 6-1 posting over Alfred Lee and Robert O’Brien.
“We easily could have lost 10-8,” Moravec said. “Luckily, our doubles came through and Andre played well.”
Moravec, in his 20th season at the helm, returned all 11 players from last season. Despite the nice start to the season, he sees it as just that, a nice start, and nothing more.
“We don’t care about how we start, but how we finish,” Moravec said. “We want to be playing our best tennis in the CIF playoffs.”