“We were in this position last year,” said St. Francis Coach Ron Zambrano, whose club missed the playoffs by a single set last season. “What has been hurting us is spring break is usually in the middle of the season. ... This year, fortunately league started right after spring break so hopefully that momentum carries on. We have a good chance to make playoffs.”
The Golden Knights (8-2, 3-1 in league) were once again paced by standout junior Vinnie Lodolo, who swept his three sets, 6-0, 6-2, 6-1. Lodolo improved his individual record to 29-1 on the season.
“He’s coming along very well,” said Zambrano of his star player. “Today their No. 2 was very good and he killed him, 6-2.”
Senior Alec Neumeyer and junior Ari Injeyan backed up Lodolo nicely, each picking up two singles wins. Neumeyer pulled out a pair of 6-3 victories, while Injeyan was victorious 6-4, 6-2.
While the singles led the way with seven wins on Thursday, it was the four wins from doubles that had Zambrano most excited.
“The doubles are coming along,” said Zambrano, whose team pulled out a riveting 9-9 (77-76 in games) victory over Sherman Oaks Notre Dame earlier in the week. “[Crespi] loaded their doubles. They only left one [normal] singles player and they thought they could beat us today. But they didn’t.
“If we can win three to four doubles, we are going to win most of our matches.”
Senior Max Leisure and junior Jason Trueblood teamed up at the No. 1 spot to pick up two sets, 6-3, 6-3.
The tandem of senior Ian Powell and junior Arman Hamama knocked off Crespi’s top two teams, 6-4, 6-3.
The Golden Knights will face another stiff Mission League test when they hit the road on Tuesday to face Harvard-Westlake. Zambrano is confident that if his team can continue to play as it did Thursday, the sky is the limit.
“This was the best performance yet,” Zambrano said. “The kids are just getting better and better. They are working hard in practice.
“They are gaining confidence, especially the doubles. They performed very well. That was the reason we won.”
?DYLAN KRUSE covers sports. He can be reached at (818) 637-3252 or email@example.com.