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Carlmont tennis picks up big win against Aragon
April 17, 2013, 05:00 AM By Julio Lara Daily Journal

Julio Lara/Daily Journal Corey Pang, Carlmont's No. 1 singles player, lines up a return during the Scots' 7-0 win Aragon. A win Thursday gives Carlmont the top seed in the PAL tournament.

For some time now, Peninsula Athletic League boys’ tennis fans have known that the race for the No. 1 seed in the upcoming league tournament was down to a pair of teams. And now, with one game left on the PAL schedule, it looks like it’ll be the Carlmont Scots taking that race by a nose. The boys in blue forged ahead in the marquee matchup of the regular season, taking down Aragon High School in an emphatic 7-0 victory. The Scots came into the match one game behind the Dons in the Bay Division standings. But a Carlmont win on Tuesday knotted things up at 8-3 and so the tiebreaker heads over to matches won. A month ago, Aragon beat Carlmont 5-2. But with the Dons’ 7-0 this time around, it’s the Scots who own the tiebreaker heading into one more league match left and the league tournament right around the corner. “We were really hoping for a 5-2 to at least tie it up,” said Carlmont coach Amina Doar Halsey. “Anything over that was hard fought, a gift on our end. We were excited to get the 7-0 win, but at the same time … it could have gone either way.” “Yeah. I’m a little surprised,” said Aragon head coach Dave Owdom when asked if he was taken back a bit by the outcome of the match. “But there were some close matches and hopefully within the next week, we’ll improve a little. None of our guys are real happy because we could have played better. Unfortunately, we had an off-day at the wrong time.” It was a night and day kind of performance for the Scots. And while discussing differences between two matches can be tough, on Tuesday, the answer to “why did Carlmont dominate Aragon on the scoreboard this time around?” was very simple. “Things happen,” Doar Halsey said. “That’s the nature of the sport. But I think that, as far as the previous match, we were missing our No. 2 singles player … and we were also missing half of No. 1 doubles. Those are two big losses.” As it turns out, the presense of Vrain Ahuja (in the No. 2 singles) and Byron Wu (as one half of the No. 1 doubles) made a drastic difference. Both players weren’t present when Aragon took down Carlmont in March. But they were definitely a factor on Wednesday. “Their No. 2 singles player really strengthens their lineup,” Owdom said. “They sort of upgraded their team a little bit. They played a lot better than us today and we’ll be ready for them next week, hopefully, if we can get a chance to play them again. We still have to win a couple more matches before then.” Carlmont jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead behind the play of Corey Pang in the No. 1 singles. Pang brought his ‘A’ game and made it look easy, picking up a 6-1, 6-1 win in just over an hour of work. Moments later, Wu and Ben Knoot walked off court No. 3 with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Quentin Bellon and Landers Nairchemat. And just like that, Carlmont had all the momentum it would need. “Our No. 1 doubles has always been a strong team,” Doar Halsey said. “They’ve been playing together pretty consistently for three years so they know each other well, they play well together, they’re considered a very strong team within the league. “Corey is by far one of the best players of the league. To come out with those two wins, it gave the other players a good momentum lift. I’d say, turning over the No. 2 and No. 3 singles was equally as huge. {There were] so many three set matches, my heart was racing.” Racing because a 4-3 win on Wednesday would not be enough for Carlmont. So even after No. 3 doubles Alex Yang and Calvin Tzeng picked up a 7-5, 6-3 win, and Ahuja made three-set work of Isaac Wang, the Scots were still pressing for that fifth point. And that finally came in the form Theo Fredonic all the way at court No. 7, who battled back from a one-set deficit to take down Jonathan Liu 3-6, 6-1, 6-2. The gravy on top arrived after Matt Soriano and Rahul Joshi finished up their third set, super tiebreaker. The No. 3 singles match was the most intense of the seven, with Soriano picking up the win 6-2, 5-7, (10-5). Carlmont got the sweep in No. 2 doubles courtesy of a Kevin Hutchaleelaha and Bobby Goldie. With one more league match to go before the PAL tournament, Carlmont takes on a tough Mills team while Aragon must contend with Woodside. The winner of the PAL tournament, which starts April 19, will receive the league’s second automatic qualifying spot in the Central Coast Section playoffs. Menlo-Atherton, by virtue of its fifth straight PAL title, bypasses the tournament and is already in the CCS dance. “We’re going to out there at full strength,” Doar Halsey said of her team’s final league match. “We’re going to keep our players focused and playing strong.”

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