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Sunny Hills' Efforts Fall Short of a Title

Southern Section: Lancers drop key games in the late going and lose, 10-8, in renewal of rivalry with San Marino.


SAN MARINO — Sunny Hills, trying to win its fourth Southern Section championship in the '90s, was upended by second-seeded San Marino, 10-8, in Wednesday's Division II title match at Lacy Park in San Marino.

The Lancers also lost the title to San Marino in 1990, avenging that loss to the Titans the following year and adding additional titles in 1993 and 1994.

"They beat us in '90, we beat them in '91," Sunny Hills Coach Steve White said. "It will be our turn next year."

Sunny Hills (17-5) lost to San Marino in the regular season, 14-4, but this time played to a 6-6 tie through the second round. The Lancers needed to win four of the final six matches, since a tie would have gone to the Titans (20-4), who were ahead in total games.

But Sunny Hills ran out of breaks. The disappointment was most notable on the face of Lancer senior John Han, who broke down after losing his final set to San Marino freshman John Paul Fruttero, 6-3, clinching the match for San Marino.

Chris Chung picked up Sunny Hills' only final-round victory in singles, with a 6-3 decision over Rodger Kuo.

"This is how we played all the way through the playoffs," White said. "We played real hard and came out aggressive. San Marino did a great job in the third round. I don't think anyone thought we would be tied, 6-6. We had the opportunity."

The best match of the day came in the first round and a different outcome could have changed the face of the match. Andrew Park, a San Marino sophomore who was a finalist in the Southern Section individual competition, played in the No. 2 position and faced Han for Sunny Hills. The two battled for over an hour, breaking each other's serves eight times, before Park came away with the 7-6 victory, winning, 7-2, in the tiebreaker. Park finished off the day by beating Chung, 6-2, and sophomore Chang Park, 6-0.

Chung's first-round match was also a nail-biter as he took Fruttero to a tiebreaker and defeated him, 7-6 (7-4).

"Chris and John played very tough today, against tougher opponents," White said. "I'm very proud of all these kids. We got the five matches we needed in doubles, but we just didn't get the few extra matches we needed in singles."

In doubles, the Lancer team of senior Shaun Harris and freshman David Lin scored an upset in the first round, defeating section individual semifinalists James Tong and Jason Yao , 6-4. Harris and Lin scored the only sweep of the day for Sunny Hills, also winning 6-3 and 6-2.

John Choi and Tuji Chang won two of their three double matches, 6-3 and 7-6 (7-2), losing only to Tong and Yao, 6-2. The freshman team of Ray Vyas and Jimmy Chu, also came close to upsetting Tong and Yao, taking a 5-4 lead before losing, 7-5. Vyas and Chu also lost 6-0 and 6-1.

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