“These guys are good” were the words that came out of Cabrillo boys tennis head coach David Riley’s mouth toward the end of Santa Ynez’s dominating performance.
The Pirates knocked off Los Padres League tennis court power Cabrillo 17-1 on a breezy day at Santa Ynez High on Thursday – using experience and strong backhand counters to win the LPL contest over the Conquistadores.
Santa Ynez won all of its matches until approximately 5:10 p.m., when Cabrillo’s Cedric Kwon prevented the 18-0 loss with his singles victory over the Pirates’ No. 2 option Darren Hinkins 7-6 (7-4 in tiebreakers). Pirates head coach Steve Gunning – who is in his second season of running the varsity team after several years with the junior varsity – likes the depth, talent and knowledge of tennis his team brings this spring.
“We have a really strong team – a very experienced team,” Gunning said after the match. “The kids are focused, they enjoy the game and they work well together.”
The trio of doubles teams on Santa Ynez worked flawlessly in cohesion – winning all three of their sets against an equally talented and experienced group of Conqs. The No. 1 team of Ryan Rennick and Cooper Owens won two of their matches 6-0. The No. 2 team consisting of Max Porter and Neil Collison claimed two of their three matches by a score on 6-1. Lastly, Robert Meyer and Kurt Beehler took their first contest 6-4 before winning their next two by scores of 6-1 and 6-2.
The singles’ side has this familiar face: Braxton Johnson, who has seen his name get plastered in state tennis rankings. The key returner overcame a tough back-and-forth with Kwon by winning 6-4, then beat Chris Barrick and Eli Pellot, respectively, by scores of 6-0 and 6-1.
Outside of Johnson, Hinkins took two of three contests by scores of 6-2 over Barrick and 6-4 against Pellot. The Pirates’ No. 3 option Kyle Walczak swept his three contests by scores of 6-3, 6-0 and 6-3.
Gunning says that while Johnson is considered the more heralded returner, there are other top aces with the racket outside of him.
“Braxton is experienced, but then our new guy Ryan (from Dos Pueblos) is also experienced. We have a great group of seniors and capable group of juniors and sophomores,” Gunning said.
Gunning has taken a liking to numerous of things about his team – from their skill set, to their cerebral side to getting the proper training away from the court.
“I think everyone is rooting for each other and everyone is supportive of one of another. They’re smart, athletic and I thank all the local tennis professionals. They have more to do with this than I do,” Gunning said.
Santa Ynez will now take on Dos Pueblos in a non-league contest – plus the homecoming of Rennick. That game is set for 3 p.m. Cabrillo returns home to face Morro Bay at 3 p.m. on Monday in Vandenberg Village.
Morro Bay 3, Cabrillo 2
The effort was there for the Conqs, but the Pirates prevailed in a LPL match by set scores of 18-25, 25-20, 26-24, 22-25 and 12-15.
Sean Wood, Curtis Rogers, Joey Brown, Josh Her and Jericho Guron all spearheaded the Conqs on the volleyball court. CHS is now 1-2 in the LPL.
Lompoc 10, Nipomo 2
The Braves rolled to a Los Padres League win Thursday, winning at Nipomo.
Connor Hayes pitched a complete game for Lompoc.
The Braves are now 4-3 overall and 3-2 in the LPL. They were coming off a 17-2 loss at Templeton, which was unbeaten on the year heading into Friday's game at Templeton.