Fallbrook High School’s boys tennis team finished the season with a 13-7 record after reaching the CIF Division I quarterfinal playoff match.
The Warriors also finished 6-4 in Avocado League competition, giving Fallbrook third place in the standings.
“Throughout the year they kept a very good attitude. They worked hard,” said Fallbrook coach Bill Lenaway.
Torrey Pines won the Avocado League championship while La Costa Canyon finished second. The Warriors lost their four league matches to the Falcons and Mavericks while sweeping Mission Hills, San Pasqual, and Escondido during league competition.
“I’m not really disappointed or excited,” Lenaway said. “We beat the teams we should have beat and lost to the teams we should have lost to.”
Fallbrook’s 12-6 regular-season record gave the Warriors the fifth seed at the playoff selection and seeding meeting, but twelfth-seeded Otay Ranch was a league champion and received an automatic home playoff match so the Warriors traveled to the South Bay for their playoff opener May 11.
Ironically, Otay Ranch was the only CIF San Diego Section team to have an overall undefeated record in the regular season. The Mustangs were 10-0 both in Mesa League play and overall; their lack of non-league matches gave them the low seed. “We’ve just got no data to compare it to,” Lenaway said.
Fallbrook, as the Mustangs’ first non-league opponent of the year, also handed Otay Ranch its first loss of the season but not before the match was split at nine sets apiece and Fallbrook advanced on the tiebreaking criteria of games won. “They were very good,” Lenaway said. “It was a very competitive match.”
Fallbrook won 84 games while Otay Ranch captured 76 games. The Warriors’ win placed them in the May 12 quarterfinal match at La Costa Canyon.
The Mavericks advanced to the semifinals with a 12-6 win at Fallbrook’s expense, which was also the Warriors’ best result against La Costa Canyon this year. “We played very well,” Lenaway said.
The realignment of the North County Conference places Fallbrook in the Avocado East League next year along with Escondido, Mission Hills, Vista, San Marcos, and San Pasqual. “I think we’re going to see some closer scores,” Lenaway said. “This year the disparity was kind of huge.”
Fallbrook had only one senior on the 2010 team: Jonathan Wechter. Wechter, who was the Warriors’ #1 singles player during team play, will attend the University of California, Santa Barbara next year although his pre-medical curriculum will keep him from playing intercollegiate tennis.
During the league individual tournament May 17-20 Wechter played doubles with junior Sho Adachi. A semifinal win over the Torrey Pines duo of Mike Mering and Hammy Hokyo earned Wechter and Adachi a spot in the finals against top-seeded Connor Eck and Adam Levie from Torrey Pines. Although Eck and Levie won the league championship, they required three sets to defeat Wechter and Adachi. “We took a set from them, but we just couldn’t get by them,” Lenaway said.
Fallbrook junior Spencer Merchat reached the singles quarterfinals during the league tournament. “Spencer played real well and really outplayed his seeding,” Lenaway said.
Wechter and Adachi were Fallbrook’s only representatives in the CIF individual tournament which began May 25, when the eighth-seeded Fallbrook duo advanced to the second round by walkover before beating Reid Naliboff and David Demarest of Cathedral Catholic in three sets. Wechter and Adachi took a 6-3 win in the first set, Naliboff and Demarest forced a third set with a 6-2 victory, and Wechter and Adachi won the match with a 6-2 triumph in the third set.
That win advanced Wechter and Adachi to the round of 16, but in that May 26 match eleventh-seeded Michael Saria and Brandon Chao of Westview took a 6-4, 6-2 victory over the Fallbrook players.
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