First published in the April 7 print issue of the Pasadena Outlook.
The Maranatha High School varsity boys’ tennis team encountered a familiar foe last week in Village Christian of Sun Valley, a program that has often vied for the Olympic League championship in the past decade but would fall short against the Minutemen.
Both programs embarked on a new journey migrating to the Coastal League this season, but history repeated itself as Maranatha defeated the Crusaders, 12-6, to remain unbeaten.
The Minutemen (9-0 overall, 5-0 in league) jumped out to a 5-1 lead thanks to sweep in singles competition from Tim Huang, Nico Engling and Laci Szabo and didn’t look back. Maranatha went on to win three sets in the second round of matches and four more in the final round. The duo of Jordan Miao and Joshua Im contributed two doubles set victories.
The duel between Engling and Village Christian’s No. 1 singles player Elijah Ngai, the coach’s son, turned out to be the matchup to watch. Trailing 5-2, The Minuteman rallied to tie the match, 5-5, and again at 6-6 to force a tiebreaker. The showdown culminated with a forehand stroke from Engling that sealed the victory and awarded his team the final point.
Prior to defeating Village Christian, Maranatha swept its season series against New Roads High of Santa Monica with a recent 15-3 win.
The Jaguars were short-handed and surrendered three sets early on, and the Minutemen dominated doubles play to win all nine matches. The duos of Shahe Yerevanian and Matt Yip, Sawyer Tarampi and Jonathan Jo, Elie Su and Hayden Geeting and Miao and Im each recorded doubles wins.
Maranatha, ranked No. 5 in CIF Southern Section Division 4, will hit the road for its next three matches, facing Alhambra today, Rowland on April 11 and Geffen Academy at UCLA on April 13.