Miramonte team tennis won its second straight NCS title behind depth and balance
By HUNTER HEWITT | Contributor
Perfection is a rarity in sports.
An undefeated season in any sport, at any level, is seldom seen. One off-day, one crucial mistake, one controversial call by a referee – any of these can lead to a loss and the dismantling of a perfect record.
To accomplish such a feat, a team must be incredibly skilled, well-prepared, tough-minded and close-knit.
Sounds like the 2013 Miramonte boys tennis team.
On May 11, the Matadors defeated Redwood-Larkspur and Monte Vista in the final two rounds of the North Coast Section Division I playoffs, securing their second straight NCS championship and ramping up their season record to a perfect 27-0.
“We had two great team victories today, and that’s how it has been all year for us,” Miramonte head coach Michael McCollom said following the matches. “We talk a lot about accountability and always showing up in the big moments, and we did that today. We got what we wanted.”
McCollom was named the East Bay Boys Tennis Coach of the Year by the Contra Costa Times in 2012, and could very well receive the honor again this year. Despite the individual accolades, he is quick to give credit to his players.
“Teams are all about the guys that go out there and play,” he said. “We have great players and leaders who demand excellence and motivate each other. We are very balanced and we always show up with an outstanding understanding of the team concept.”
Team captain Luke Bohuslav, one of the leaders McCollom specifically noted, led the way for the Matadors, winning both of his No. 1 singles matches in commanding fashion. In his team’s narrow 4-3 victory over Redwood in the semifinals, Bohuslav won his match in two sets, 6-0, 6-4. The senior was also victorious in two sets in the finals against Monte Vista, 7-6, 6-3.
“We have been training for this for years and it feels great to win another title,” Bohuslav said with a shiny medal around his neck. “The first match was a little shaky in the beginning, but luckily we pulled it out. We were really pumped up for the second match and we came out hot.”
Speaking of hot, the weather played a major factor in the final two rounds. With temperatures in the mid-90s, several players battled heat cramps and dehydration.
Miramonte felt the effects from the heat, but was far from fazed.
“It was tough in the heat, but we were prepared for it,” McCollom said. “We have been training hard, and that is one of the things that makes our team great. We have a very deep team and we practice hard with quality players every day.”
Senior Andrew Tan and junior Logan Boersma both suffered cramps during their No. 1 doubles match against Monte Vista, but they found a way to dig deep and play through the pain. Although they lost the first set, they fought back and won the second.
By the time their third set had begun, the Matadors had a 3-1 advantage over the Mustangs and needed to win just one more match to clinch the championship.
With several teammates and fans watching, Tan and Boersma came through with a gritty performance and won a nail-biting third set, 7-5. Their teammates rushed the court in triumph immediately following the game-winning point.
“The match was incredible, and the heat was a big factor,” Tan said afterwards. “We were cramping a lot, and we definitely had to work for every point. It always feels good to finish the match and see your teammates there running through the gate to celebrate.”
Tan and Boersma’s heroic victory gave Miramonte a 4-1 lead, and the Matadors won the final two singles matches shortly after.
Although the final score was 6-1, it was actually Monte Vista who appeared to have the edge early on.
The Mustangs took an early 1-0 lead by winning the No. 4 singles match with the rest of the matches still in progress. They also led in two other matches, as they had won the first set in both No. 1 and No. 3 doubles.
The momentum quickly shifted in favor of Miramonte, however, as the No. 3 doubles team of Michael O’Melveny and Kyle Rechnitz bounced back from losing the first set and won the match, 2-6, 6-2, 6-3.
No. 2 singles player Peter Martin won his match soon after, and the Matadors took control from there.
Miramonte’s run of perfection ended one week later in the semifinals of the CIF NorCal Championships, where they were edged 4-3 by Serra-San Mateo on May 17. Serra advanced to the final and was swept by powerhouse Menlo-Atherton. It was Menlo’s fifth consecutive NorCal title and the Knights didn’t drop a single match in the tournament.
Upon winning the NCS title, McCollom and his players were fully aware of the tough competition that lied ahead, but remained optimistic about the opportunity to compete against some of the best teams in California.
“We want to have a really good showing at CIF,” Bohuslav said. “There are going to be some really good teams there, but we want to go out with a bang and pull out some great wins.”
Added McCollom: “We’re just going to show up and do what we always do. We’re going to leave everything we have out on the court and hope for the best.”
Regardless of their performance at the CIF NorCal Championships, one thing is certain: The Matadors have a perfect attitude.
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