May 17, 2013 9:07 PM by Andrew Masuda
Behind a dominant performance in singles action, the Arroyo Grande High boys tennis team beat rival San Luis Obispo 13-5 in an historic CIF Division 3 Championships at the Claremont Tennis Club on Friday afternoon.
The Eagles, who had only been to the final one other time in 1970, captured the program's first-ever CIF title. San Luis Obispo, which knocked out the #1 seed in the second round, was making its first appearance in a final since it made it three straight years from 1998-2000.
The Eagles won all nine singles sets. Eli Whittle won 6-2, 6-0 and 6-0. Sean Hollister won 6-2, 6-0 and 6-0, while Derek Lakowske took his sets 6-2, 6-1 and 6-0. "We knew going in what we had to do. And obviously everybody on both sides felt a lot of pressure but was also very pumped up. It just came down to those key couple of matches and I think we got them," said Hollister, who never lost to SLO during his four years at the varsity level.
"It's all the hard work that everybody, top to bottom, puts in on the team. There's no standouts as far as work ethic goes. Everyone just goes out and gives it their all and everybody did their part," added Hollister.
"We peaked at the right time in CIF. There were a lot of close matches. But we played really well," said Whittle, who finished the postseason undefeated.
The Tigers won five doubles sets, but they were not enough to draw even overall. Luke Iunker and Noah Cleere teamed up to sweep for the Tigers 7-5, 6-1 and 7-6. They lost just one set during the Tigers' magical playoff run. Josh Milla and Scott Hicks won one set 6-0 and Brandon Lippold and Cole Stephenson won a tiebreaker 7-6 (7-1).
Arroyo Grande scored two wins apiece from the doubles teams of Bryan Rozo and Tyler Anderson, as well as Cole Laughton and Ryley Anderson.
Head coach Lori Hollister guided the girls team to a runner-up finish in the fall and she credited that experience with helping take care of business this time around. "I'm just so proud of our boys. They just performed well and they had a job to do today and they just finished it," said Hollister.
The Eagles beat SLO for the third time this season and 13th-straight time. The Tigers return several key players like Hicks, Cleere, Milla and Hansen next season.
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