- Published on Tuesday, 15 May 2007 20:00
- Written by Pete Borello - Town Crier Staff Writer
Joe Hu/Town Crier
Top singles player Denny Fafek was the lone Los Altos High player to earn a win against Menlo in last week's Central Coast Section quarterfinal match. The Eagles end the season with a 15-8 record.
The Central Coast Section didn't do Los Altos High any favors by changing the boys tennis playoffs from two divisions to one this year.
Had the 2006 format remained, coach Cuong Duong believes the Eagles would have made it back to the title match rather than lose in the quarterfinals.
"I think we would have met Bellarmine in the finals," he said after Los Altos exited the playoffs with a 6-1 setback at Menlo on May 7.
The Eagles faced the Bells in last year's Division I final and lost 4-3. This year, Menlo - a Division II team in 2006 - met Bellarmine for the title and won it.
Menlo has never been a good matchup for Los Altos. The Knights have won 11 of their last 12 meetings with the Eagles. Although Los Altos lost just 4-3 at Menlo April 18 in a non-league match, Duong said the result was misleading.
"They were missing three guys last time," he said. "All of them were there this time around."
Sixth-seeded Los Altos (15-8) was simply overmatched by No. 3 Menlo (19-3) last week. The Knights' six wins came in straight sets.
"They're just a better team," Duong said. "When we left, we felt we tried our best, but Menlo just beat us. They're deeper and played a better match."
Top singles player Denny Fafek saved Los Altos from being shut out. The senior prevailed 7-5, 7-5 to keep his perfect record intact.
"He played great - and on a really hot day when it was over 90 degrees," Duong said of the Fresno State-bound Fafek. "He just played his game."
The Eagles' No. 2 player, junior Jeff Liu, fell 6-1, 6-1.
"There were a lot of close points," Duong said, "but the score doesn't indicate that."
Junior Jonathan Tran and senior Mehran Umerani lost 6-0, 6-0 at No. 3 and 4 singles, respectively.
Los Altos has been particularly strong in doubles - all three teams won in straight sets against Harker in the second round of CCS - but didn't look like it against Menlo.
"That's our strength, but they're even better," Duong said of the Knights, who didn't lose a set in doubles in the quarterfinal.
The top team of seniors Morgan Moy and Nathan Manashirov came closest to beating Menlo.
"They played pretty well in the first set - it was 7-5 - then they lost 6-1," Duong said. "There were guys losing all around them and they didn't have the fight. When you see that, you don't have the energy to fight for each point."
Los Altos' other doubles teams - comprising senior Luc Bergevin and junior Camille Fritsch at No. 2 and freshman Charlie Bergevin and junior Hayden Smith at No. 3 - lost convincingly.
The season may have ended earlier than the Eagles had hoped, but Duong isn't too disappointed.
"I'm happy with the season, to get to the quarterfinals of CCS," he said. "The top four teams (moved on); I think we just weren't good enough to get there as a sixth seed."
Los Altos also finished second in the SCVAL De Anza Division and beat some ranked teams along the way.
The season may not be over for all the Eagles, though.
Fafek has qualified for the individual portion of CCS after winning the league tournament the last week of April. The CCS tourney is scheduled to begin Tuesday at Imperial Courts in Aptos. Duong said Fafek may not compete, however, due to a conflict with a national tournament he has entered.
Two of Los Altos' doubles teams have a chance at making the individual tournament as at-large entries. Luc Bergevin and Fritsch placed second at the league tourney, while Moy and Liu placed third. Duong said he should know this week if either team qualified.