M. Tennis: Top two teams in the state battle to the end

File Photo: Sasha Krasnov pulled out a three-set win
File Photo: Sasha Krasnov pulled out a three-set win

In a battle of the two best teams in the state, the Cerritos College men's tennis team suffered their first loss of the season, as they dropped a 5-4 decision at Irvine Valley College on Saturday. The Falcons (9-1), ranked #2 in the state, had their season come to an end last year in the Southern California Championship match against the Lasers (4-0). The team will now open South Coast Confence play on Tuesday when they face Mt. San Antonio College, with the match to be held at Citrus College.

The match started with two tight battles in the three doubles matches. At the top of the doubles ladder, sophomores Sasha Krasnov (School 106, Ukraine) and Nikita Katsnelson (Odessa Gymnasium No. 1, Ukraine) outlasted Lucas Lesouer and Javi Callejo, 9-7. At one point, the Falcons led in all three doubles matches, but the Lasers were able to come back in the #3 doubles match to record the difference-making result in the match. The Falcon duo of freshmen Bruno Duarte (Centro Educacional Rogêdo, Brazil) and Marcos Paulo Silvestre (Colégio Tiradentes, Brazil) led, 7-4, but the Lasers held serve, then broke Silvestre's serve, held once again and then won the tie-breaker.

In singles play, the team's split the six matches, with Irvine Valley opening up a 4-1 team score lead after sophomores James Zhang (Shenzhen Luohu Foreign Language School, China) and Aleks Trifunovic (Katrinelunds Gymnasium, Sweden) were defeated in straight sets. Playing in the #3 position on the ladder, Trivunovic lost to the defending singles state champion, Javi Callejo, 4-6, 2-6.

Duarte was able to earn a 6-0, 6-2 win in the #6 singles match, but Irvine Valley clinched the win when Lesouer handed Katsnelson a 2-6, 3-6 setback in the #2 match. The Falcons posted wins in the final two matches, with freshman Carlos Mendez (Instituto de Educación Secundaria Ies El Palo, Spain) earning a 7-6, 7-6 win in the #5 position, while Krasnov fought back from a 5-1 deficit in the second set, tied the set 5-5 and then 6-6 before winning the tie-breaker. In the third set, Krasnov trailed DeMulling, 6-1 before staging another comeback and tied the set at 6-6 before coming away with a 13-11 win.

Sasha Krasnov (CERR) def. Wyatt DeMulling (IVC), 1-6, 7-6, 13-11
Lucas Lesouer (IVC) def. Nikita Katsnelson (CERR), 6-2, 6-3
Javi Callejo (IVC) def. Aleks Trifunovic (CERR), 6-4, 6-0
Chris Politiek (IVC) def. James Zhang (CERR), 6-4, 6-2
Carlos Mendez (CERR) def. Leszek Mirecki (IVC), 7-6, 7-6
Bruno Duarte (CERR) def. Luis Castillo (IVC), 6-0, 6-2

Sasha Krasnov/Nikita Katsnelson (CERR) def. Lucas Lesouer/Javi Callejo (IVC), 9-7
Wyatt DeMulling/Chris Politiek (IVC) def. Aleks Trifunovic/James Zhang (CERR), 8-4
Leszek Mirecki/Gavin Lynch (IVC) def. Bruno Duarte/Marcos Paulo Silvestre (CERR), 9-8