The 18-0 match the Minutemen played in the regular season was no indicator of what this match was going to be like, as the Rebels were missing their 3 best players. With Prep fielding a full roster this time, this was going to be a battle of whether Prep’s singles heavy roster or Marathana’s doubles heavy roster would defeat their counterparts by the greater margin. On this day, the Rebel’s singles won 7 while the Minutemen’s doubles won 6.
The Minutemen hoped to win the first round, 4-2, but the score was knotted at 3 sets a piece, with Daniel Guan defeating Derek Tran, 6-3, for MHS’s singles point, while Prep’s Neal Sadda/Leon Liao upset Kenny Cho/Timothy Huang, 6-4. Matthew Leiva/Michael Mathews defeated Prep’s Loran Baxter/Will Lanstra, 7-5, and Billy Tan/Jake Scott defeated David Kim/Patrick Hastings, 6-1.
The match turned in the second round when Baxter/Lanstra upset Tan/Cho, 6-3, after trailing 2-3. Singles fought hard but came up empty, with JP Collins nearly pulling off the upset against FP’s Gillis Linde, before succumbing, 4-6. Leiva/Mathews won, 6-1, while Cho/Huang rebounded with a 6-2 victory, giving Prep the 4-2 advantage in the round and a 7-5 lead overall.
Down 5-7 to start the third round, the Minutemen would need to go 4-2 to tie and 5-1 to win, a tall but not impossible task. With MHS’s best two singles players, Guan and Collins, facing opponents they felt they could beat, and with Leiva/Mathews and Cho/Scott expected to win their sets, the question was whether Cho/Huang could come up with the upset against Baxter/Lanstra to give the Minutemen a 10-8 win.
Maranatha’s hopes were all but dashed right at the outset, as Guan succumbed to severe cramping in the very first game of the set, forcing him to retire and forfeit the set. Leiva/Mathews and Tan/Scott won their sets as expected (7-5 and 6-3),as did Collins over Tran (6-2). Cho/Huang put up a fight before losing, 3-6, giving the Rebels the 10-8 victory and securing their first CIF-SS tennis championship.
Congratulations to both the #3 Rebels and #1 Minutemen for remarkable seasons and a well-played championship match.