Hunter, Prokopchuk will meet in all-Cerritos State final with CCCAA men's title on the line

Alex Prokopchuk (Courtesy Cerritos College Athletics)
Alex Prokopchuk (Courtesy Cerritos College Athletics)

Complete Ojai Results

By Dave Loveton
Santa Barbara City College Sports Information

OJAI – It was a “Cerritos Saturday” in the CCCAA Men’s Tennis Championships at the Ojai Valley Athletic Club as the state champion Falcons grabbed five of six spots in the singles final and doubles semifinals.

Kent Hunter, the Falcon’s No. 1 player and the No. 1 seed from the South, cruised into the singles final with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over No. 4 Kayne Trustfull of Riverside. He’ll take on teammate Alexy Prokopchuk for the men’s title on Sunday at Libbey Park at 11 a.m.

Prokopchuk, the 7th seed, upset third-seeded teammate Victor Castro 6-2, 3-1, retired, in the semifinals. Prokopchuk, a 6-4 freshman from the Urkaine, and his sister Kseniia both reached the state final for what may be the first time in history.

“Kseniia and Lexi both played 3 for us this year and they’re playing their best tennis right now,” said Quinn Caldaron, the Falcons’ men’s and women’s coach. “It’s the best I’ve ever seen Lexi play. Victor got sick with a stomach thing and he didn’t play his best tennis.”

Hunter got off to a 5-1 start in the first set and never looked back.

“I’ve been playing well the whole tournament but in this match, I think I took it to another level,” said Hunter. “Everything was working, my volleys, my serve, my forehand. I had very few unforced errors.”

Hunter said he’s played Prokopchuk many times in practice and it will be a challenge to face him in the state final.

“It will definitely be difficult,” he stated. “I know his play style, so I kind of know what to expect. But it’s not going to be easy.”

Hunter and Prokopchuk won quarterfinal and semifinal matches on Saturday, then played in the doubles quarterfinals in the afternoon. Hunter is 28-0 this year and has dropped just eight games while sweeping five singles matches at the State tourney. Prokopchuk is 26-1 and has lost 18 games in five sweeps.

Cerritos won three of the four quarterfinals in doubles. Hunter and Castro, the top seed, beat eighth-seeded Will Molenkamp/Patrik Terhac of Palomar 6-4, 6-3. Prokopchuk and Marcos Silvestre, the No. 2 seed, swept a team from Orange Coast, 6-4, 6-2.

The biggest surprise was 15th-seeded Kwang Lee and Dario Rico of Cerritos. They cruised past the 10th seed from Grossmont, 6-0, 6-4. They’ll take on their teammates Hunter/Castro in Sunday’s semifinals at 8 a.m.

Prokopchuk/Silvestre will battle No. 6 Michael Bott and Thallys Santos of Irvine Valley in the other semifinal. The doubles final is scheduled for  2 p.m. at Libbey Park.