GLENDALE — With a potential playoff spot at stake, the Glendale Community College men’s tennis team found itself in a tight spot Tuesday afternoon.
Glendale college needed a victory against visiting Santa Barbara City College in a Western State Conference match to finish tied for second with Santa Barbara. A loss by Glendale would have eliminated it from a possible playoff berth.
In its time of need, Glendale turned to its No. 3 doubles team of Santiago Segovia and Son Tran, as the duo recorded a clinching 9-8(8-6) victory and propel Glendale to a 5-4 win.
“I’ve been in sports my whole life and coached for a long time and that was a great match,” said Glendale Coach Bob MacKay, whose team improved to 11-5, 5-3 in conference. “I thought Santiago and Son competed extremely hard and it wasn’t easy.
“I thought going into the tiebreaker that they could compete hard and they did just that.”
Glendale and Santa Barbara (5-3 in conference) split the two head-to-head meetings this season. Santa Barbara posted a 5-4 home win against Glendale on March 5.
Now, Glendale and Santa Barbara will wait to see if they will be part of the eight-team Southern California Regionals. The five conference champions and three at-large teams will be part of the postseason. The pairings will be unveiled Sunday and the quarterfinals will begin Tuesday. Glendale last participated in the postseason in 2011, when it fell to Cypress.
Glendale received singles victories from Gaspar Macalutas (6-3, 6-0), Dat Le (6-3, 7-6 (7-4), Tran (6-4, 6-3) and Segovia (6-4, 6-2) to grab a 4-2 advantage heading into the three doubles sets.
Santa Barbara knotted it at 4 with wins from Logan Liddell and Fabian Lundberg (8-4) and Daniel Barrington and Eduardo Baccini (8-4), setting the stage for some late heroics from Segovia and Tran.
Glendale took an 8-7 lead before Santa Barbara held serve to force a tiebreaker. In the tiebreaker, Glendale jumped out to a 6-4 lead before Santa Barbara fought off a pair of match-points to knot it at 6. After Glendale took a 7-6 lead, Tran smashed a forehand shot down the line to seal the victory against Carlo Bierbaum and Soufiane El Mhamdi.
“We had some good points,” Tran said. “I’ve played in a lot of tournaments and had sets like this before.
“At 6-6, Santiago got in a good serve and I approached the net being aggressive to get that point. On the winning point, I just lined myself up to return a good shot. We knew we had to win it to have a chance at the playoffs. Things were looking good when we led, 4-2, after the singles sets. Then it was 4-4 and we had to win.”
Segovia said he and Tran needed to stay composed throughout the tiebreaker.
“We were nervous, but we knew exactly what we needed to do,” said Segovia, who helped Glendale register a 9-0 conference home win against Bakersfield on Monday. “We had to stay focused with each point.”
Santa Barbara got singles victories from Liddell (7-6(7-1), 6-4) and Marius Moelsgaard (6-1, 6-3).
MacKay said Glendale needed to get off to a good start.
“You can’t tell what’s going to happen, so it was important to start off strong,” MacKay said. “Santa Barbara has got a good team and it was a good match the first time we played them.
“We were looking great leading at 4-2. Then we found a way to win it. Guys like Santiago and Tran know how to handle pressure well.”
Glendale will next participate in the Western State Conference Tournament, which will be held Friday and Saturday. The championships in singles and doubles will take place April 12.