The Moore League boys’ tennis team and individual title go through Long Beach Poly this season. The Jackrabbits are trying to win a third consecutive team title with defending singles champion Felippe Dacudao (pictured) leading the way.
Poly is 8-4 overall and 7-0 in league play after a 12-6 win over Millikan last week, and a 17-1 win over Lakewood on Tuesday. A pair of matches in the coming weeks could go a long way in deciding the team championship before league finals next month.
The second round of league play starts Thursday as Poly hosts Wilson. The Bruins (6-6, 5-1) will then host Millikan on Tuesday, April 11, in a rescheduled match. Wilson and Millikan (6-3, 5-1) enter this week tied for second place in league with one loss to the Jackrabbits. Poly beat Wilson 12-6 in the league opener earlier this month.
“We have shown a bit of depth in our singles and doubles lineups so far in league play,” Poly coach Ricardo Montecinos said. “That has given us a slight edge.”
Dacudao came back to win the individual title as a sophomore last year at Billie Jean King Tennis Center, and was overcome with emotion after beating Lakewood senior Brandan Hardan. Dacudao didn’t have a league loss this season until he was beaten by Millikan senior Vincent You, who also beat Dacudao in the league doubles final last year with his partner Adam Taylor.
You and junior Brandon Viahnee are the top players for the Rams this season, and Millikan coach Torie Frapwell said they can both compete for a league title if they maintain their intensity.
“Sometimes teams can settle in and not play the second round of league with as much fire and ambition,” Frapwell said. “We have to push ourselves and throw some surprises at the league in the second round.”
The Millikan doubles team of senior Oliver Hammond and junior Brenden Brown are undefeated, and could be the frontrunners to take the league doubles title. Hammond played with a different partner last year, and this is Brown’s first year on the team after coming over from baseball.
“We had the same score against Poly as Wilson did,” Frapwell said. “So our match (April 11) should be a pretty good match. They’ve been rebuilding and are on the way back up.”
Wilson first-year coach Ryan Blanchette is a Bruin alum who has been coaching the junior varsity team for the last three years. He said that he’s expecting big things from his doubles team of seniors Ethan Block and Mark Espiritu. Sophomore Roy Alexander also had a quality result against Poly.
“The toughest adjustment for me has been the behind the scenes stuff,” Blanchette said. “But the team has been great. By the end of the year, we’ll have good results.”
Lakewood has some talented newcomers, and could play the role of spoiler next month. The Lancers play Poly, Millikan and Wilson in the last two weeks of the regular season.
Moore League finals are scheduled to start April 30 at El Dorado Park, and conclude on May 4 at Billie Jean King Courts.