University ushers in CIF title by routing Dons

CLAREMONT – Santa Barbara High’s boys tennis team reached its second Division-I CIF Final in three years with top singles player Chase Melton making an undefeated run through the playoffs.

Suddenly without him due to an ill-timed ailment, the stunned Dons suffered a resounding 17-1 defeat to top-seeded University at the Claremont Club on Thursday.

“When Chase got so sick that he couldn’t make the trip we really didn’t have the inspiration that he normally gives us,” said Dons head coach Steve Geremia. “The rest of the players didn’t play with the emotion that we normally do.

“Yea we’re a little disappointed that we didn’t have a chance to show our best but mostly you have to congratulate Uni on having a quality team and a great year.”

University, in its fifth straight CIF Final, wrapped up an undefeated season to become the D-I champion for the third time in four years. The Trojans’ elite status stretches even further back, as University has been a CIF finalist in 10 of the past 13 years.

Coming into Thursday’s match, the Trojans were considered the favorites with Melton in the lineup. Without Melton, it turned out to be a mismatch.

“Even if we had Chase, it would have been really tough to come through,” said Dons sophomore Nico Pollero. “We just tried to make the best of it.”

Minus Melton, the Dons singles lineup crumbled to the strength of University’s Ryan Cheung, Gage Brymer and Reo Asami. In nine sets, Santa Barbara claimed only three games, falling by a combined score of 45-3. Asami was most dominant, sweeping his three sets 6-0, 6-0, 6-0.

The Trojans singles players didn’t let up at any point, even after clinching the team victory after the second round.

“They’re all tough players,” said Brymer, a freshman. “They didn’t have Chase but they’re still a good team.”

If the Dons were to make a match of it, it was going to be in doubles.

Chris Williams and Jim Vaughan captured their first set for the Dons in the first round over Anthony Nguyen and Anthony Su. Dan Diaz and Matt Baum almost claimed another but were edged by Tyler Lu and Ryo Shimizu in the round’s final match. That made it 5-1 instead of 4-2, and the rout was on.

UNIVERSTIY 15, SANTA BARBARA 3

SB Singles – Pollero 0-3, Garcia 0-3, Maassen 0-3. University Singles – Cheung 3-0, Asami 3-0, Brymer 3-0. SB Doubles – Williams/Vaughan 2-1, Diaz/Baum 1-2, Liddell/Grant 0-3. Uni Doubles – Menichella/Luu 2-0, Nguyen/Su 1-1, Shimizu/Lu 3-0, Yamamoto/Lu 1-0, Pham/Menichella 1-0.

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