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Boys tennis overpowers Ayala High in opening win

The afternoon sunlight glared as senior Cameron Lorek began a final showdown with Ayala High on Wednesday. As the wind picked up and specks of trash flew over the tennis court, Lorek stayed focused.

Both teams—the Wolfpack and the Bulldogs—stood on the other side of the fence and rooted for their respective athletes. The match finally ended at 7-6, with Lorek adding another team point for the Wolfpack. The Wolfpack performed well for their first league meet against Ayala, winning 13-5.

“It was a great team effort,” Head Coach Clint Rees said. “The singles are on the verge of sweeping, but our doubles need some work.”

Before Lorek’s final standoff, he started his singles career strong with a 6-2 win in the first match. After a few adjustments, whether for overshooting the ball or making faults during a serve, Lorek adapted and added quick maneuvers to eventually defeat his opponent.

“He had a really big serve,” Lorek said. “I just had to keep on my toes and watch for his mistakes.”

Lorek said consistency has been an issue but, since his primary sport is soccer, his quick reflexes and strikes on the tennis court impressed Coach Rees. He won all three of his matches, giving the Wolfpack a distinct advantage.

Sophomore Andrew Leahy also made three team points in singles and ended his first match in a sweep, 6-0. He finished the match quickly with few errors and had enough rest to face his next opponent.

“I felt very confident in myself,” Leahy said. “Tennis is all mental.”

The Bulldogs did notice some weak spots on the court in doubles play. However, that did not intimidate Chaska Yamane and Nauveen Mahideen. Both teammates worked so well together, they each knew what section of the court to cover. No ego, only synchronization.

At deuce, 15-15, Yamane lofted the ball back to the Bulldogs. As their opponent hit back, Mahideen was in front and quickly produced a counterattack. Then Mahideen was trapped in a duel with a Bulldog. Each was only a few feet away from one another and both defended their territory.

The ball kept moving back and forth and finally Mahideen struck in open territory, taking the point. Fatigue started to show and Yamane lost the first match 6-2 and second match 6-4.

“They did make a comeback,” Rees said. “But when you spend so much energy giving back, it sometimes takes a lot out of you.”

All was not lost as doubles freshman, brothers Hunter and Harrison Bojalad, won the third match, 6-4.

Sophomore Philippe Schicker also swept in singles. The final match was a challenge after being tangled from moving to every corner of the court, but Schicker managed to win, 6-2. His two previous matches both resulted in 6-1.

The Wolfpack will face South Hills at 3:15 p.m. today, Friday, March 21, at Claremont High School. They will face Damien at 3:15 p.m. on Wednesday, March 26, again at CHS.

 

Boys volleyball unable to finish late comeback

Boys volleyball lost, 3-2, against Burbank High on Wednesday after almost making a compelling comeback. The Wolfpack won the third and fourth set—25-23 and 27-25—but lost in the fifth, 15-8.

Claremont’s Donovan Robinson lead the charge with 23 kills, with Eroni Vatuloka having 8 kills. Head Coach Bernie Wendling expressed little worry since the season just started and the team played through all sets, sending a clear message: They will not stop fighting.

“They guys have confidence,” Coach Wendling said. “They’re now just experiencing the intensity of tougher games they will face in the season.”

Coach Wendling said there were some mistakes made early on that inevitably put the Wolfpack in too large a hole to climb out of. Whether it was leaving space open or being unable to hit the ball over the net, the Pack will keep those errors in mind as they play in the Orange County Championships Friday and Saturday.

The Wolfpack will first face Mission Viejo High at 3:30 p.m. on Friday at Estancia High School, then face Sage Hill High School at 6:30 p.m. at Marina High School. They will also face Woodbrige High School at 8 a.m. on Saturday at Estancia High School.

—Alex Forbess

sports@claremont-courier.com

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