Millikan dominated visiting San Dimas in the CIF-SS Division 4 quarterfinals on Monday, and will host the semifinals against Oxford Academy on Wednesday. The Rams won their first Moore League title since 1997 this season. A Long Beach boys’ tennis team has never won a CIF championship.
The Rams, who have won both of their playoff matches 16-2, are the top seed in Division 4. Moore League individual champion Andy Nguyen said he’s not really surprised Millikan has been dominant in the postseason.
“I know my team is really good,” Nguyen said. “I have high expectations. After league we have good confidence and good bonds. We know we have each others backs. Because of that we feel at ease and that makes us play better and more relaxed.”
Nguyen, Nolan Alvarez and Lucas Mikasa won their singles matches 6-0 without dropping a game.
“We had to go at it from the beginning with a lot of aggressive play to take advantage of the early points as much as we could,” Millikan coach Torie Frapwell said. “We actually started dropping the first games in doubles but my boys managed to work through it and figure it out. They performed really well today. I’m proud of my whole team.”
Millikan’s doubles team of Aidan Mousseau and Jack Baker won their No. 2 matches to set the tone. Mousseau is 6’5 and Baker is 6’0 so they’ve been able to use their size at the net to control match play.
“There’s still room for improvement but we’ve been improving all year,” Baker said.
Mousseau added that he’ll be hitting his ground strokes and second serves harder on Wednesday, and hopefully in the finals, because of the confidence he’s gained over the last few months.
“It’s motivating,” Mousseau said of making history this season. “I feel like Millikan tennis is overlooked. We may not have been winning league but we’ve been competitive for second place.”
“Our doubles players have been showing a lot of improvement throughout the season,” Millikan captain Lucas Mikasa said. “I think our games are there. But a lot of (the improvement) is mental confidence and being together as team bonding.”
Mikasa said his own personal improvement has also been in his head.
“My technique is there, I just kind of clam up a little bit when I go out to play, but I think that’s really improved this season,” Mikasa said. “I just try to breathe and go into the match knowing I can count on my team. As a captain it’s just been really inspiring to see my team rise to the occasion. I’m super impressed by them and I’m glad most of them will be here next year.”
Mousseau is the only senior on the roster, but Frapwell said she’s not surprised that her team has been looking like veterans on the court.
“We have really good experience having played teams like Wilson and Poly,” Frapwell said. “We didn’t run away with this (league) championship, we had to work for it, and that helps.”
She added that Mikasa is the best example of that.
“He’s one of the most mature players I’ve had,” Frapwell said. “He’s all about leading by example. Even when we were on Zoom (over the past year) he was the first one to turn his camera on to say hi to the guys. He encourages them. He’s just a really great kid.”