|High Desert Tennis Association|
Panthers keep Hawks grounded
Combes sweeps; doubles teams lose two tiebreakers
By C.J. DAFT
VICTORVILLE — Throughout its season, the Silverado boys tennis team has concentrated on playing together and playing hard.
On Saturday, during their CIF-Southern Section Div. IV second-round match, the Hawks executed their season-long strategy, but fell just short of advancing to the quarterfinals. Corona pulled out two crucial doubles tiebreakers and beat Silverado, 10-8.
" We played really well," Silverado doubles player Stephen Patch said. "We put our hearts into it. Yeah, we came up on the short end of the stick, but it really doesn't matter because we all played as hard as we could. They were a good team. They just got the breaks."
The Hawks' performance, though, left a good impression on Corona coach Jose Nino.
"You have to give them a lot of credit for the depth that they have in doubles and singles," Nino said. "It was a battle all the way through. I think they deserve a lot of respect."
Silverado (12-3), which finished second in the Desert Sky League, reached the second round of the playoffs by knocking off Elsinore 10-8 earlier in the week.
The match could have gone either way Saturday against Corona (15-2), the No. 8-ranked team in CIF-SS Div. IV and the top team from the Mountain View League.
The Hawks won five of the nine singles sets, paced by Nico Combes' sweep and Ben Zagala’s two wins. Zagala’s only loss came against Rashad Khamis, Corona’s No. 1 singles player, who won two of his three sets.
"I think I played good," Zagala said. "That No. 1 guy had a big serve and I couldn't do anything against it."
The Panthers' doubles teams each took two sets but not without a fight, as four of the nine sets went to a tiebreaker. Tim Le and Patch were the lone Silverado pair to pull off two wins, including a tiebreaker.
Jim Wisnewski and Nick Sanchez, Silverado’s No. 2 doubles team, played well enough to win all three of their sets. They forced each of them to tiebreakers but dropped the first two before pulling out the third.
Hawks' coach Suzi Paxton was encouraged with the duo’s ability to come back and win that third set.
"I can say that they didn't give up," Paxton said. "Losing a tiebreaker can really disappoint you. I was pleased that they didn't give up. They could have easily said, 'oh man, a third tiebreaker, we're going to lose again,' but they didn't."
The teams were knotted at 3-3 after the first round of play, but the Hawks fell behind 7-5 after the second round when their doubles teams were swept. The Panthers won three of the first four sets in the third round to seal the match.
Silverado’s Lester Fernandez, Zagala and Combes will all be competing in the CIF-SS Individual Sectional which begins on Friday at the University of Redlands.
Khamis 2-6, 6-4, 6-3; S. Melendez 2-6, 6-4, 4-6; J. Melendez 2-6, 6-4, 2-6.
Bohne-Flores 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2; Adams-Shyrock 6-7 (8), 7-6 (1), 6-1; Salcido-Tabirara 6-2, 6-7 (8), 6-4.
Combes 6-2, 6-2, 6-2; Fernandez 4-6, 4-6, 4-6; Zagala 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.
Le-Patch 6-4, 7-6 (8), 2-6; Wisnewski-N. Sanchez 6-7 (5), 6-7 (1), 7-6 (8); Park-M.Sanchez 2-6, 1-6, 4-6.