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University boys tennis stays positive after perfect season ends in SoCal finals

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University’s impressive boys tennis season ended one victory shy of perfection.

The top-seeded Trojans lost to No. 2 Canyon Crest Academy of San Diego 4-2 in the finals of the CIF/USTA SoCal regional championships Saturday at The Claremont Club to conclude the spring with a 27-1 record.

“Kind of a bummer to end this particular season like that,” veteran University coach John Kessler said this week. “(But) I told the boys that this match does not define us. Rather, it it was an incredible season with so many memorable moments that will define this group.”

University captured the prestigious National All-American Tournament, the team title at The Ojai, the challenging Pacific Coast League and the CIF-SS Open Division.

The Trojans opened the regionals May 20 with a 5-2 win against Palisades of the L.A. City Section. They later beat San Diego Open Division runner-up The Bishop’s 5-2 in the semifinals.

Canyon Crest Academy, the Open Division champion in San Diego, edged CIF-SS Open Division runner-up Corona del Mar 4-3 in the other semifinal. The match concluded Saturday after being suspended Friday due to rain.

University wasn’t full-strength for the final but received a victories from freshman Champion Okey singles and from the steady doubles team of Konrad Walter-Wu and SangHyuk Im. The doubles team finished undefeated in the postseason.

University senior Conrad Brown, The Ojai singles champion, dropped his singles match to fellow senior Zach Pellouchoud 6-3, 6-3. The UC Santa Barbara-bound Brown beat the Cal Poly SLO-bound Pellouchoud 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 in the quarterfinals in Ojai.

“Give Canyon Crest credit,” Kessler said. “They beat Corona del Mar in a tense match right before playing us.”

“The season is such a grind,” the coach added. “Playing in such a difficult league that requires us to bring our A-game most matches expended a lot of physical and emotional energy, (along with) winning the All-American tournament and then the CIF run.”

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