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CIF tennis: Doubles trouble fuels exit

West Ranch manages just one doubles victory in loss

Posted: May 10, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 10, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Baron Von Kessler of West Ranch competes with San Luis Obispo at West Ranch High on Wednesday. Von Kessler swept three sets on the day.

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Despite finishing second in the Foothill League, this season was a tough one by West Ranch boys tennis standards.

The team featured just five seniors and struggled in doubles play throughout the year.

That was a formula that showed itself again on Wednesday afternoon, when the Wildcats lost 11-7 to San Luis Obispo High School in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division II playoffs at West Ranch High.

The Wildcats (10-6) picked up an impressive win in doubles play when the No. 3 team of Brandon Oh and Jon Lee defeated the Tigers No. 1 team of Luke Iunker and Brandon Lippold in a tiebreak 7-6 (7-3).

But it was the only doubles victory the Wildcats could muster on the day.

“I was surprised at the strength of their doubles,” said West Ranch head coach Eric Spiecker. “I thought we had a couple opportunities that we didn’t take advantage of. We had a couple windows opened ... but they shut those down.”

The Tigers (13-5) received sweeps from both their No. 2 team of Josh Milla and Zach Hutkin (6-2, 6-1, 6-0) and No. 3 team of Masun Hansen and Adrian Angola (6-2, 6-0, 6-0).

Struggling in doubles, the Wildcats needed to make up for it in singles play.

West Ranch senior No. 1 Baron Von Kessler did his part, sweeping 6-3, 6-2, 6-0, and No. 2 player Christian Cranert took two sets 6-4, 6-1.

Logan Boute added a 6-3 victory while subbing in the No. 3 spot for West Ranch.

It wasn’t enough, though, as the Tigers picked up two wins from their No. 3 player Brooks Rossi to help secure victory.

That included a back-and-forth final match of the day in which Rossi defeated Cranert in a tiebreak 7-6 (7-5) to set the final score.

“We saw that (the Wildcats had a weakness in doubles). We felt with the way our doubles was, we could dominate and get a few in singles,” said Tigers head coach Ken Peet.

And that was exactly how it played out.

But despite the early playoff exit, the Wildcats weren’t hanging their heads over the result.

“It was a little tough this year without the experience we usually have,” Von Kessler said. “But we still got second (in the Foothill League) and I was happy with that.”

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