Portola High continued its rise as a tennis powerhouse on Friday, May 28 by capturing the CIF-SS Division 2 boys title.
Singles ace AJ Moore and two teams in doubles delivered sweeps as the top-seeded Bulldogs defeated host Viewpoint 11-7 to capture their first section championship.
Moore, the Pacific Coast League singles champion, swept 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 to help the Bulldogs take five of nine sets in singles.
In doubles, Portola claimed six of nine sets behind sweeps from the tandems of Alyan Ashraf-Sam Ferreira and Chris Li-Rishi Vridhachalam. Ashraf-Ferreira won 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 while Li-Vridhachalam rolled 7-5, 6-2, 6-1.
Portola (19-4) gained momentum for the playoffs by taking third place in the tough Pacific Coast League, including victories against Open Division semifinalist Woodbridge and Division 1 playoff qualifier Northwood.
“Those were some top-notch matches that solidified our potential to make it pretty far in playoffs,” Portola coach Natasha Schottland said. “Very excited to be bringing back the championship to Portola.”
In the fall of 2019, Portola won girls Division 3 for the first CIF title in any sport in school history.
Woodbridge High’s boys tennis team on Monday, April 12 halted one of the most impressive streaks in Orange County high school athletics.
The visiting Warriors snapped University’s 15-year winning streak in Pacific Coast League competition by edging the Trojans on games after the sets ended in 9-9 tie.
University, facing tough competition from teams in tennis-crazed Irvine and Newport Beach, had won 129 consecutive league matches since losing to Corona del Mar on April 13, 2006.
“I’m incredibly happy for my players and the program,” Woodbridge coach Ryan Sabado said of the triumph. “Every team that I’ve put together since joining Woodbridge in 2012 has put in many hours of hard work to get the program to the level it is at today.
“Ending a streak that is older than some of my players has not fully sunk in quite yet. It’s great to edge out a close result and we are definitely going to learn and grow from the win.”
Woodbridge opened the match strong by taking a 4-2 advantage after the first round. The Warriors led 7-5 after the second round before University, the 2019 CIF Open Division champion, pushed hard toward in the final round to create the 9-9 tie.
“Woodbridge played very well and was pumped,” University coach John Kessler said. “It’s pretty crazy that we had such a streak playing in the league that we do. There are, and have been, so many great teams and players who have taken the court in this league.”
Kessler added that he was proud of the way his team responded in the third round.
Senior Rithvik Krishna swept 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 at No. 1 singles for University while the Trojans’ No. 3 doubles team of Omar Khayat and Nic Conta swept 7-5, 6-4 and 7-6.
University played without junior Conrad Brown, a five-star recruit like Krishna by Tennis Recruiting.
Woodbridge received two wins apiece from singles players Sam de Vries and Avery Tallakson and two victories from the doubles team of Mimi Covino and Maxim Stepanov. Jayce Spurgiasz also won a key match at singles.
The Warriors’ captains are de Vries, Jack Chen and Aryan Raikar.
The Southern California News Group honors the top high school athletes for the fall sports with its SoCal Varsity Sports Awards.
SCNG’s team of high school sports reporters have selected the Athletes of the Year and All-SoCal teams in football, girls volleyball, boys water polo, girls tennis, boys and girls cross country and girls golf.
Read all of the stories online (links below) and in a special section that is included in all of SCNG’s newspapers on Sunday, Dec. 22.
Orange County girls tennis will be well-represented Friday at the CIF-SS individual championships at Seal Beach Tennis Center.
Three of the four doubles teams in the semifinal are from the county while junior Kayla Meraz of Brea Olinda also made the final day of the tournament.
The finals will follow the semifinals Friday.
In doubles, top-seeded and Pacific Coast League champion Mya Wang and Emily Markus of University defeated Elaine Wu and Rakel Ang of San Marino 7-5, 7-5 on Thursday to reach the semifinals against Laguna Beach’s Ella Pachal and Sarah MacCallum.
The Wave League champions defeated Milana Molnar and Bailey Smolinski of San Juan Hills 6-0, 7-6 in another quarterfinal.
Beckman sophomores Victoria Aguiree and Kaitlyn Nguyen, the Pacific Coast League runner-ups, advanced to the semifinals by defeating Arcadia’s Makaila Cheng and Cara Hung 6-2, 6-3.
In singles, Brea Olinda junior Kayla Meraz advanced to the semifinals by defeating Troy junior Jenna Sabile 6-4, 6-1. Meraz, the North Hills League runner-up, will face Chadwick senior and Wake Forest commit Casie Wooten in the 9 a.m. semifinals.