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Road to title gets tough now

After breezing to Division 4 title match, boys' tennis team faces stiff challenge against top-ranked and defending-champion Viewpoint.

May 26, 2011|By Mike Sciacca, michael.sciacca@latimes.com

In the first two weeks of the 2011 CIF Southern Section boys' tennis playoffs, the Laguna Beach Breakers really hadn't been tested.

A one-sided win to start the postseason was followed by three more comfortable victories. That dominating play has vaulted Laguna into a CIF championship match. On Wednesday, the Breakers are sure to get their stiffest challenge yet when they challenge Viewpoint for the Division 4 title.

The match starts at 2:30 p.m. at Claremont Club in Claremont and it pits the top-ranked and defending champion Patriots against the second-ranked Breakers.

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"The kids have a done great job to get to the championship," Laguna Coach Peter Davidson said. "I think there's a real excitement among this group and they're ready.

"I wouldn't say I'm surprised at getting to the championship match, but being my first year, I didn't know what to expect. One thing I do know about our team is that these kids are good. They've proven that."

Laguna hasn't really been tested in the postseason. The Breakers began their playoff run May 11 with a 17-1 rout of Orcutt Academy (Freelance) of Santa Maria. They then took care of Lynwood, the runner-up in the San Gabriel Valley League, 16-2, two days later. On May 17, they downed Alhambra (Almont No. 2), 14-4.

Laguna moved on to Wednesday's final by winning, 14-4, at Santa Ynez on Tuesday.

"It's hard to put my finger on it, but I think the reason we've been so dominant is that we've had the ability to pull out tough matches," Davidson said. "We've won a lot of close matches and against Santa Ynez, two of our doubles were down and our No. 3 team was even, at the break, but they all came back to win. That says a lot about our kids and their tenacity.

"We just have a really good lineup. There's no big hole. It's pretty solid. We have a lot of weapons on this team and we've been able to move kids around. I think Austin (Loomis), at No. 3 singles, is a darkhorse who has a lot of talent."

Viewpoint, a school with an enrollment of 475 tucked away in Calabasas, has been the division's top-ranked team throughout the regular season. In postseason play, the Liberty League champion Patriots also haven't been challenged. They easily defeated Paloma Valley (18-0), Costa Mesa (16-2), Paramount (17-1) and La Quinta/Westminster (15-3), to get to a second straight final.

Last year, Viewpoint defeated Laguna in the semifinals, then defeated Rowland in the title match.

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