LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — Momentum was up for grabs in several close first-round matches Friday when La Cañada High's boys' tennis team hosted San Marino in a Rio Hondo League match.
The first round nearly finished in the favor of the underdog Spartans, but James Wade ensured the Titans went into the second round with a head of steam and helped secure a 12-6 Titans win with a sweep in No. 1 singles.
San Marino's ace took a 5-0 lead to start the day against La Cañada's No. 1 Joshua Kim, who responded by winning six straight games. Wade had the final answer, though, as he regrouped to take the next two games and set, 7-6.
"It was tough when he was coming back because all the momentum was on his side and I had to find a way to get it done," said Wade, who swept, 7-6, 6-3, 6-4. "Down 6-5, I relaxed and was looking for my forehand and I won the tiebreaker."
First-year San Marino Coach Melwin Pereira said Wade's opening win was huge.
"It set the tone for the day," said Pereira, who also got a sweep from Rob Carter and Timothy Duong in No. 1 doubles, 6-1, 6-0, 6-4. "We still have a lot of work to do. I am expecting [the Spartans] to come to our home and put up a challenge because I think they're going to build on this."
There were three other close calls in the first round, but San Marino (4-3, 2-0 in league) came out on top in two of them to take a 5-1 lead into the next round as Koji Semba and Dan Abrams won a tight first set, 7-5, in No. 3 doubles for the Titans, who also got an opening 6-4 win from Nicolas Splichal in No. 3 singles.
"Simply put, we just have to come out of the gate better," said La Cañada Coach Will Moravec, whose lone first-round win came from Leeho Lim and Harrison Zuk, 6-4, in No. 2 doubles. "It's hard to give a team all that momentum and then try to come back."
Semba and Abrams went on to win one more close set, 7-6, for San Marino, which also got two wins from Danny Gealer in No. 2 singles, 6-3, 6-3.
La Cañada's lone two set winner was Zuk, who won his second set with substitute partner Tyler Jones, 6-2.
The Spartans (4-3, 0-1) also got wins from Kim (6-3), Andre Danuns (6-0), Ryan Lee (6-0) and Liwon Lim and Joseph Song (6-2).