Wildcats lose by six to Frontier

Frontier’s top four dominated Taft High’s top four in the season opener for the Wildcats varsity tennis team Thursday.

The Titans top four swept Taft’s top four in all four singles and both doubles matches. Taft’s bottom four held their own splitting the lower matches with Frontier, 3-3.

“Frontier just had too much experience for us,” Taft coach Jim Carnal said. “We have two seniors, one junior and a bunch of sophomores. Still, we were somewhat competitive with a very good  Division II school.”

Frontier swept the top seven singles matches. Frontier’s top player, Tim Roe, one of the top 20 players in the Valley, beat Taft senior Kyle Fleming, 6-1, 6-1, in a long match that was closer than it looks on paper. Jake Kounter beat senior David Burleson, 6-0, 6-1. Brock Lynch beat Chuy Gutierrez, 6-0, 6-3. Alex Dobrenen beat Rafa Arreguin, 6-1, 6-2. Brad Kounter beat Cristo Miranda, 8-6, in a very competitive match.

Wanje Lee beat Philip Taylor, 8-3. In a battle of sophomores, Chris Nickell beat Rogelio Santiago, 8-2. Taft got its lone singles win at No. 8 when Cameron Bunch beat Eric Chau, 8-5.

In doubles, Roe and Jake Kounter beat Fleming and Burleson in a competitive match, 6-2, 6-4. Lynch and Dobrenen beat Gutierrez and Arreguin, 6-3, 6-2. Taft squeaked out the bottom two doubles matches. Miranda and Santiago held on to beat Lee and Brad Kounter, 4-6, 6-2, 10-5. And, Taylor, a junior, and Kyler Fields, a freshman in his first high school tennis match, beat Chris Nickel and Eric Chou, 2-6, 6-3, 10-7.

Frontier, which had previously beaten East, beat Taft, 9-3, to improve to 2-0. Taft is 0-1.

Taft’s JV team won three of five tiebreakers but lost a very close pro-set match to Frontier, 7-5.

Taft’s Isaiah Sharp lost the No. 1 singles match to Jordan Ramos in a tiebreaker, 7-8 (3-7). At No. 2 singles, Taft’s Oscar Martinez manhandled his opponent, 8-0. At No. 3, Taft freshman Pastor Magana lost to Max Holland, 8-4.

At No. 4, Taft’s Randiel Sasi won, 8-5. At No. 5, Taft’s Samuel Kendrick lost, 8-5. Taft’s Jesus Lopez, a first-year senior, beat Nick Folgerson in a tiebreaker, 8-7 (8-6). At No. 7, junior Gilbert Orozco won a tiebreaker, 8-7 (8-3). At No. 8, Taft freshman Justin Covington lost, 8-3.

Tied 4-4 after the singles round, JV Coach Doug Taylor kept in two starters and let some of the lower players on the 16-member team get in a practice match. Taft took No. 1 doubles when Magana and Brian Ortega won a tiebreaker, 8-7 (7-3). Frontier won the bottom three doubles matches. At No. 2 doubles, Martinez and freshman Fernando Hinojosa lost, 8-0. At No. 3 doubles, Phuc Nguyen and Val Richardson lost, 8-2. At No. 4 doubles, beginners Kris Swope and Oscar Nuno lost a tiebreaker, 7-8 (5-7).