Being one of the final eight teams in the CIF Southern Section Division II playoffs is something the La Cañada boys' tennis team can be proud of this season.
However, the Spartans were able to accomplish much more.
Along with handing San Marino its first Rio Hondo League loss in 28 years, La Cañada also defeated two league champions in consecutive playoff matches and reached the CIF quarterfinals for the first time in 10 years.
Unfortunately for the Spartans, they ran up against a talented Palm Desert team in their attempt to reach the semifinals. As a result, La Cañada suffered an 11-7 loss to the No. 1-seeded Aztecs on May 19 at home.
"Palm Desert is just a very good team," said Spartans Coach Will Moravec, whose squad finished the season 17-7. "They have a lot of depth, and they have very good doubles teams."
Palm Desert, which won the Desert Valley League title, advanced to the division championship Wednesday, where it faced Brentwood.
The Spartans didn't get out to a good start against Palm Desert. La Cañada lost two sets by 7-6 scored in the first of three rounds to fall behind, 5-1.
"That's what really hurt us, that first round," Moravec said. "After we fell behind by that much, it's really hard to try and make that up."
Instead of giving in, the Spartans continued to battle. La Cañada got back into the match in the second round, as it whittled the Aztecs' lead to 7-4.
But Palm Desert proved why it is the No. 1 seed by playing solid tennis down the stretch to close out the match.
La Cañada received a monumental effort from singles player Josh Kim. Kim battled to earn a sweep, 7-5, 6-2, 6-0.
He was the lone Spartans singles player or doubles team to sweep.
The Aztecs were paced by their doubles corps, which won seven of nine sets.
In singles, La Cañada's Aiden Lynch won one, 2-6, 4-6, 6-2, as did Greg Lee, 0-6, 6-7, 6-3. In doubles, the tandem of Garrison Frazier and Trent Jones won one, 6-7, 4-6, 6-2, as did the duo of Matt Faber and Leeho Lim, 1-6, 1-6, 6-4.
Things will get tougher next season for the Spartans — the third-place team from the Rio Hondo League — as they will move up to tough Division I.