Canyon Crest knocks off top seed to win regional boys tennis crown

CCA Tennis
The CCA boys tennis team won the regional title.

Canyon Crest Academy’s tennis team pulled off a stunning upset Saturday afternoon, knocking off No. 1-seeded Irvine University 4-3 to win the Southern California Boys Regional Championship at the Claremont Club.

It’s the Ravens’ first SoCal title after four previous trips fell short.

The Ravens ended up sweeping a doubleheader, completing a match that was suspended by rain on Friday to beat Corona del Mar 4-3. Only four sets had been decided before the match was suspended.

While the second-seeded Ravens were knocking off Corona del Mar, University was waiting, well rested. The Trojans completed their semifinal win Friday.

“Our boys overcame so much adversity, including multiple players cramping,” said CCA coach Christopher Black by phone. “And yet they pulled it off. I could not be more incredibly proud of their resilience, their fortitude, their determination.”

The title came down to the doubles team of Jonathan Pham and Ryan Atwell. With the score tied 3-3, Pham and Atwell were locked in a three-set match, up 1-0 in the third.

“We didn’t tell them (that the SoCal Regional was on the line),” Black said. “But every parent, every official, every player was watching the match. It became crystal clear.”

Pham and Atwell finished in a rush, winning the match 3-6, 6-3, 6-0.

There is no state championship.

Zach Pellouchoud won a key singles match, beating University’s Conrad Brown 6-3, 6-3. Pellouchoud lost to Brown three weeks ago at a tournament in Ojai.

“He was in absolute command from the jump,” said Black.

After 18 seasons, Black is stepping aside as the Ravens’ coach.

“It’s an incredible way to go out,” he said.

Norcross is a freelance writer.