Village News Reporter
Fallbrook High School’s 2022 boys tennis team posted a 7-3 record in Valley League competition to share second place in the final league standings.
The Warriors lost both matches against Mission Hills and split with Valley Center. Fallbrook’s overall regular-season record was 10-6.
“Our non-league losses were to teams we figured were stronger teams,” said Fallbrook coach Bill Lenaway. “These were matches we were probably going to lose.”
Lenaway is thus not disappointed with those losses. “We won the matches we should have won,” he said.
Valley League play for Fallbrook opened March 9 at home against Mission Hills. The Grizzlies won 10 sets while Fallbrook prevailed in eight. “We were really close to them at our place,” Lenaway said.
Fallbrook won three singles sets and five doubles sets March 9 with the doubles team of senior Daniel Winton and junior Joe Tygart sweeping their Mission Hills counterparts.
The Warriors’ home match March 10 against San Pasqual was a 13-5 Fallbrook victory. Porter Niccum, a junior who transferred from Texas, won all three of his singles sets including two by 6-0 scores. Three other singles sets were won by senior James Smith. Winton and Tygart won three sets including two 6-0 contests. The doubles team of senior Sam Grantham and sophomore Anthony Wilson also won all three of their sets.
Fallbrook’s first league road match of the year, March 15 at Escondido High School, was a 15-3 Warriors’ triumph. Niccum, Smith, and freshman Connor Skaja all swept their singles sets. Wilson and Tygart defeated all three doubles opponents as did Grantham and Wilson.
If each team wins nine sets, the tiebreaker of games won determines the winner of the match. Fallbrook’s March 16 match against Valley Center High School at Adams Community Park in Valley Center had the need for that tiebreaker. The Jaguars received the win by prevailing in 66 games compared to 65 for Fallbrook.
“Our first match against Valley Center was very close,” Lenaway said.
Fallbrook’s doubles team of juniors Ethan Ahrend and Chris Flores obtained a sweep March 22 when the Warriors hosted Ramona and defeated the Bulldogs in an 18-0 match. Ahrend and Flores won two 6-0 sets; Grantham and Wilson didn’t lose a game to any of their Ramona opponents; Niccum also won three 6-0 sets, and 13 of the 18 Fallbrook wins were by 6-0 scores.
The March 24 match at Mission Hills High School was a 12-6 Grizzlies win. “They played better,” Lenaway said of Mission Hills. “On a neutral court they were probably a little bit better than we were.”
Lenaway noted that Mission Hills has more of a tennis culture. “I don’t think it was too much of a surprise,” he said of the losses to the Grizzlies.
A March 29 trip to San Pasqual High School resulted in a 10-8 Warriors victory. The Warriors won four singles sets, including three involving Niccum, and six doubles sets consisting of three with Winton and Tygart and three with Grantham and Wilson.
Ramona plays home matches at the Riviera Oaks Racquet Club, where Fallbrook obtained an 18-0 win at the Bulldogs’ expense March 30. Twelve of the sets, including seven of the doubles contests, had 6-0 results. Ahrend teamed with senior Carl Maier for three of the victories, including two by 6-0 margins.
Escondido traveled to Fallbrook for a March 31 match. The Warriors’ 15-3 triumph included wins in all nine singles sets.
Fallbrook concluded league play April 5 at home against Valley Center. The Warriors garnered a 10-8 victory over the Jaguars. Lenaway placed Grantham in singles and teamed Skaja with Wilson in doubles. Wilson and Skaja lost all three sets, although all of those had 6-4 scores, while Grantham won two of his sets. Niccum won all three sets, as did Winton and Tygert, and Smith prevailed in two sets.
A non-league home match April 6 against Army-Navy Academy concluded Fallbrook’s regular season. The 11-7 Warriors victory included three wins by Niccum and three wins by Winton and Tygert.
“Most of the time we played up to our potential,” Lenaway said. “By and large I think we did what we were capable of.”