The Saddleback men's tennis team saw the team portion of its schedule come to an end with a 5-2 loss at Cerritos College in the quarterfinals of the CCCAA Southern California Regional Tournament on Tuesday. The Gauchos played gamely in falling to the defending state champion Falcons.
Saddleback knew it was going to be a big mountain to climb if they were going to knock off a Cerritos program that has won two of the past three state championships. The Gauchos fell earlier in the year to the Falcons, 5-0, winning just a handful of games in the process.
Saddleback competed far better on Tuesday, winning two matches and leaving a few scars on the defending state champs. The Gauchos managed a win at No. 3 doubles and were down 2-1 heading into singles play thanks to the duo of Shayan Haddad Kaveh and Lucas Fortt. Kaveh and Fortt battled back from a 5-0 deficit in a tiebreaker to stun the pairing of Tomas Bella and Nico De La Pena, 10-8.
Singles play had a similar feel as a handful of matches did not finish due to a different format in the playoffs which suspends all matches once a team reaches five wins. Saddleback picked up a win at No. 6 singles when Oliver Ludwig streaked past Cerritos' Nico De La Pena 6-3, 6-0. At the time it cut the Gaucho deficit to 3-2 and had Saddleback thinking of a potential upset. Unfortunately, the Gauchos ran out of steam in dropping tough matches at No. 1, No. 4 and No. 6 singles in seeing the team portion of the season come to an end.
Saddleback finished the season 11-8 in team competition. The Gauchos will compete in individual play in the Orange Empire Conference Championships starting Friday, with individuals moving on to the state tournament.
1 Arthur Toledo & Bruno Duarte (CC) def. Tyler Edwards & Chris Torcaso (SC) 8-1
2 Jan Simon & Lucas Legrand (CC) def. Oliver Ludwig & Ryan Burns (SC) 8-1
3 Shayan Haddad Kaveh & Lucas Fortt (SC) def. Tomas Bella & Nico De La Pena (CC) 9-8 (10-8)
1 Arthur Toledo (CC) def. Shayan Haddad Kaveh (SC) 6-0, 6-2
2 Bruno Duarte (CC) led Tyler Edwards (SC) 6-4, 2-0 (did not finish)
3 Jan Simon (CC) led Lucas Fortt (SAC) 6-4, 5-3 (did not finish)
4 Lucas Legrand (CC) def. Chris Torcaso (SC) 6-4, 6-2
5 Tomas Bella (CC) def. Ivan Ozerets (SC) 6-4, 6-0
6 Oliver Ludwig (SC) def. Nico De La Pena (CC) 6-3, 6-0