CALABASAS — Halfway through the La Can¿ada High boys' tennis team's CIF Southern Section Division I first-round match with Calabasas High Spartans Coach Will Moravec compared his team to the Chicago Bulls.
Both the Bulls and Spartans were without key players this postseason, and while Chicago's season is still alive, La Can¿ada's season ended with a 17-1 road loss to the Coyotes, who are ranked sixth in Division I.
"Whenever you get to this level in the CIF playoffs, you're playing teams with real depth, and just like in the NBA, one injury can change the whole outcome," said Moravec, whose lone victory came from Christopher Madsen, 6-3, in the final set of the day. "We needed everybody to be healthy today. We just staggered into the playoffs."
The Spartans came into the first round with two of their singles players, No. 1 Josh Kim and No. 2 Andre Danuns, not at full strength with injury and illness, respectively, but both tried to push through. The pair only lasted one set, though, after both lost their openers and were subbed out for the remaining two rounds.
Temperatures that hit 90 degrees in Calabasas also added to the Spartans' woes, as one player retired in the middle of a set due to the heat.
"The heat just drained us, it's definitely a lot hotter here than it is in La Can¿ada on a regular basis," said Moravec, whose team finished third in the Rio Hondo League and ended the season with a 10-7 record. "We've had a pretty cool year. We've only played in this kind of heat once before this year. Take a good opponent with some hot weather and it's not going to be a good result, even with a healthy team."
Moravec tried to mix things up Tuesday, as he put Kim with Harrison Zuk in No. 3 doubles and No. 3 singles player Ryan Lee in No. 1 doubles with Tyler Jones, but it didn't pan out.
Prior to Madsen's triumph in the final set, the closest the Spartans got to a victory was Kim and Zuk losing to Calabasas' Scotty Garapedian and Bruce Man-Son-Hing, 6-3.
The Coyotes got sweeps from Brett Buford (6-1, opponent retired down 4-2, 6-0) Max Swerdlich (6-1, 6-0, 6-0), David Barrington and Branko Andrews (6-2, 6-1, 6-3) and Garapedian and Man-Son-Hing (6-3, 6-2, 6-2).
La Can¿ada has struggled in the postseason since it was bumped up from Division II to Division I last season when it fell to Northwood, 16-2, in the first round. In 2010, the Spartans advanced to Division II's round of 16.
"It's one of those things, I feel realistically we're a Division III-level school," Moravec said. "The teams are so deep in Division I."firstname.lastname@example.org