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TENNIS

Rocklin tennis goes three deep in playoffs before falling

By: Amanda Calzada Placer Herald Correspondent
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Rocklin High boys? tennis showcased their season?s work at the Sac-Joaquin Sections finishing with a season record of 16-6. ?It was a great honor to be associated with this year?s outstanding team. Not only did the Thunder players compete very effectively, they showed outstanding sportsmanship and tremendous growth. All our players are solid citizens and really embody the student athlete role,? said head coach Marsh Riggs. The Thunder opened the playoffs by securing a complete team victory (9-0) against River Valley on April 30 where freshmen Bryce Trueman and Jacob Schmidt gave up only one game in their two sets. Hunter Snider dominated 6-1 and 6-0 at the match. Advancing to round two of the playoffs, Rocklin played a tough match against Manteca earning a 6-3 victory on May 1. Captain Chris Hartman set the tone with his 6-1, 6-2 victories against the Buffaloes while Chris Hauptman, Snider, and senior Ravi Sharma showcased quality performances. Double players, Alec Luna, Cole Howard, Trueman, and Schmidt sealed wins on the courts. The third round of the playoffs concluded with a tough 4-5 L against Bella Vista on May 7 in the quarterfinals. The match ended in a nail-biting loss, said Riggs. Players ranked two through five won, while Sharma lost a well-played tie-break in the final moments. Hauptman avenged a sectional semifinal loss with his best win of the season to defeat Sierra Foothill League sectional doubles champ in straight sets. David Leung and Alex Agelakopolous secured easy victories while Snider gutted out of a tough win. Prior to the playoffs, Rocklin dominated April?s league matches sliding past Granite Bay (2-7), Nevada Union (8-1), (7-2), Roseville (7-2), and Woodcreek (8-1). The only challenging opponent for the Thunder was Del Oro, who won the April 25 match (3-6). Agelakopolous? favorite moment of the season was ?Winning the SFL semifinals against the No. 3 Granite Bay opponent who was senior and had huge kick serves.? Freshman Cameron Hanegan made a varsity debut against Roseville. Other highlights of the pre-playoff season included the top five singles players yielding six games against Nevada Union. The team opened its season with victories in the first four matches and qualifying for the championship division at Fresno. From March 2-3, the Thunder secured third place at the nation?s largest high school tennis tournament, the Fresno California High School Tennis Classic. The dominating fashion secured the first five matches. ?It was nerve-wracking at times to see our son play against some experienced players; most especially those that battled him in three sets with tie-breakers,? said parent Emily Agelakopolous whose favorite moment of the season was at the Fresno Classic. Riggs says the team will miss the ?three amigos,? Hartman, Hauptman, and Leung. He said the seniors would be impossible to replace on the courts. Together, the seniors had combined a 50-13 record and a .793 win percentage. Nineteen athletes will return for the 2013 season, including freshman Agelakopolous, who had a season record of 16-2 and a winning percentage of .889. Agelakopoulos and Hauptman were the two players to win their first nine consecutive matches. Snider and Brandon Yates will lead the team as seniors next spring. Snider, a dedicated athlete, will look to continue his late season surge. Yates will continue to serve as a versatile competitor looking to head the singles lineup. This season, Yates anchored the No. 1 doubles team. This year?s freshmen Trueman, Schmidt, Luna, Howard, Sawyer Milam, Cameron Hanegan, and Ben Bardet will strengthen the core of next season?s roster. Until next spring, the athletes will be organizing a tennis camp from June 11-15 and June 18-22. Those interested can contact Riggs at marshriggs@ssctv.net to register for the Thunder camp or the Sunset Whitney session.