Griffins show some grit in getting past Wolverines

After defeating Harvard Westlake in the CIF-SS team tennis finals last year, the Griffins knew the Wolverines would be out for revenge when they came to Los Alamitos last week for a second round match.Last year, the Griffins defeated the Wolverines 14-4, but losing several seniors from last year, the Griffins knew they would have a target on their backs as people would expect them to be more vulnerable.The two teams were tied at 6-6 in sets as they entered the final round. The Griffins had the edge in number of games won, which would be the key if the two ended in a tie in matches. It nearly came to that, after Danny Lassos and Nick Vogt won their final doubles match to give the Griffins a 9-8 advantage.As Luke Moorhead and Spencer Sween battled in the final set, the Griffins knew they would advance on total games, even if Moorhead and Sween lost the set. But with their teammates now serving as cheerleaders, Moorhead and Sween dug in for the fight. Moorhead said they wanted the set and talked about staying mentally tough.“Just stay focused and take it one point at a time,” Moorhead said of the conversation between Sween and him. They fell behind 4-3, but held serve in the eighth game to tie the set at 4-4. Both again held serve to tie the set at 5-5 before the Griffins broke serve to gain a 6-5 advantage.With the game tied 30-30, Moorhead hit an angle volley at the net to put the Griffins at game point. Harvard Westlake would double fault on serve to give the Griffins a 6-5 advantage. In the next set, the Griffins would fall behind 30-15 before a long serve return by the Wolverines tied the game at 30-30.On the next rally, Moorhead hit a baseline volley down the middle of the court, as the Wolverine duo froze in place as each thought the other was taking the ball. On Moorhead’s next serve, the return sailed wide and the Griffins celebrated a 10-8 set win.“These guys just came and showed what we are capable of when you play together,” Los Al coach Jordan Bridge said. No. 1 singles player Riley Smith and Ethan Kolsky each swept all three matches. Despite knowing they would advance, Smith said the Griffins all wanted to end the match with a set victory as they supported Sween and Moorhead. “I think everybody on our team wanted it … it didn’t matter what, they were going to do anything to win,” Smith said.For the Griffins, however, their run would end on Monday, as they fell to No. 2 seeded University High of Irvine, 11-7.

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