Corona del Mar Coach Tim Mang had a feeling the Southern Section boys' tennis committee wasn't going to treat his team well. But that didn't make Tuesday's news any easier to digest.
Los Alamitos (16-1) and Palos Verdes Peninsula (17-2) were seeded first and second, Corona del Mar and Woodbridge (12-4), third and fourth. The Sea Kings, Orange County's top-ranked team, suffered its only loss last week to Peninsula by five games, but earlier had beaten Los Alamitos, 10-8. The teams were seeded by a seven-member committee overseen by assistant commissioner Bill Clark.
"It's the worst thing that could have happened," Mang said. "Bill Clark made the final decision and he's never been a friend of our program. We went 17-1 and that one loss was a tie [in sets, 9-9]. I'd like to see [Clark] defend his decision."
Clark admitted the committee's decision was difficult, but he had no problem backing it up.
"They felt the Corona del Mar win over Los Alamitos was early in the season," Clark said, "And they placed a little more emphasis on Corona del Mar losing to Peninsula more recently and Los Alamitos beating Peninsula more convincingly [10-8].
"I think they had good rationale. It's close. You probably could have made an argument to do it some way different. I mean they all beat each other. Between the three teams there were four losses."
Corona del Mar would probably face Peninsula in the semifinals. Last year in the Division I finals, Peninsula defeated Corona del Mar on games.
"It would be much easier to play a fourth-seeded team than a tough team in the semifinals and finals," Mang said. "If there were four even teams, it wouldn't be a big deal. But there's a drop off after three."
Had Corona del Mar been seeded first, it would have been matched with Sea View League rival Woodbridge in the semifinals. But a new section rule states that teams in the same division cannot meet until the finals.
"[The rule] didn't affect any our decisions, but it worked out OK," Clark said.
Dana Hills (16-3), ranked fourth in the county behind Woodbridge and Los Alamitos, could face Woodbridge in the quarterfinals. In March, Woodbridge defeated Dana Hills, 12-6.
University (15-3), the county's fifth-ranked team, was seeded second in Division II behind North Hollywood Harvard Westlake, which handed Peninsula one of its losses. Sixth-ranked Sunny Hills (15-4) was seeded third in Division II. Unranked Servite (17-3) was seeded fourth in the Division IV.
The wild-card round begins Friday. First-round play starts Tuesday and the finals are scheduled for Wednesday, June 2. All matches are scheduled to start at 3:15 p.m.