Calabasas High Coach Joe Trahan was worried. Although his boys tennis team has won the Southern Section 3-A title the past two years, Trahan nervously surveyed the tennis courts at Calabasas on Thursday and shook his head.
"I think we're victims of our own success," he said. "I have a bad feeling about this one."
Trahan's trepidation of Thursday's Southern Section 3-A tennis semifinal against Mater Dei was only partly fulfilled. Calabasas defeated Mater Dei, 17 1/2 to 10 1/2, to advance to the finals next Wednesday against Los Altos, but the Coyotes did not play to their potential.
Calabasas, the No. 1-seeded team in the 3-A playoffs, couldn't muster the concentration--or enthusiasm--necessary for a strong performance.
The round-robin match between Mater Dei, a competitive team without a league, and Calabasas, a team with little competition in its league, was therefore much closer than anyone but Trahan expected.
Calabasas' top-seeded singles players, Steve Oliver and Mike Rosenthal, each lost a set to Mater Dei's strongest singles player, Ken Thome. Oliver went 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 before aggravating an injury to his right Achilles tendon and losing his final set to Thome, 2-6. Similarly, Rosenthal won, 6-4, 6-3, 6-1, but also lost to Thome, 2-6.