by Steve Fryer
Photo credit: Mark Rightmire
FULLERTON – Servite won the rubber match, and the CIF Southern Section championship.
The Friars boys tennis team defeated JSerra 10-8 on Friday in the CIF-SS Division 3 final at Fullerton Tennis Center.
JSerra won the first time the teams met, in a Trinity League match, on the games tiebreaker 9-9 (82-73). Servite won the second time 13-5.
Servite, which finished 20-1, with that only loss to JSerra, got plenty of points from its doubles group of Alexander Burns and Christopher Marci, Keane Kirchner and Andrew Nguyen, Luke Bond and Lukas Mahony. Bond-Mahony swept their matches 6-1, 6-4 and 6-4.
The team scoring lead went back and forth during the warm afternoon, with the final Bond-Mahoney win settling the title.
Bond found it more nerve-wracking than he preferred but he was satisfied with the outcome that gave Servite its second CIF-SS tennis title. The Friars won the Division 4 championship in 2001.
“We were hoping to make it a little bigger margin,” Bond said, “but we’re happy we were able to close it out.”
JSerra finished 14-5 and was second to Servite in the Trinity League.
The Friars took time afterward to shake hands and congratulate JSerra’s players in a fine display of sportsmanship.
The Lions defeated La Quinta, Canyon Springs, Villa Park and, in the semifinals, Marina to advance to Friday’s final. No. 1-seeded Servite had a first-round bye before beating Cate in the second round, Temecula Valley in the quarterfinals and Sunny Hills in the semifinals.
JSerra senior singles player Daniel Day won his three sets 6-4, 6-0 and 6-0. Day, who plans to continue his tennis career at UCLA, was undefeated in Trinity League play this year.
Servite junior Andy Loughran, who lost to Day 6-4 but won his other two matches 6-4 and 6-2, again said he was impressed by Day and pleased that he made Day work for it.
“He’s an amazing player,” Loughran said. “He ran his way through the Trinity League. I think this (Friday’s set against Day) was the closest set he’s had all year. Maybe it doesn’t get on the set score, but it’s a huge emotional victory for the guys when they see that score.”
Like so many athletes this coronavirus-delayed high school sports year, Loughran was grateful for the chance to chase a championship. The Friars were off to a 5-0 start last season when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down high school sports.
“Last year we had such high aspirations,” Loughran said. “We had great seniors, but we couldn’t finish it and that was such a heartbreaker. So we said, ‘This is our year.’ We spent a lot of time together to work through the kinks and we developed into being a great team up and down the depth chart.”