By Dave Loveton
Santa Barbara City College Sports Information
OJAI – Kalman Boyd was about to play his friend and doubles partner, Alex Kuperstein, on Sunday in the singles final of the CCCAA Men’s Tennis State Championships at Libbey Park. The hard-hitting sophomore from College of the Desert had plenty of motivation since Kuperstein had beaten him in the conference final and he knew this was going to be anything but a friendly rematch.
“It’s tough to play against your friend and doubles partner,” said Boyd. “It’s tough for me to mix friendship and competition. Right when I got out here, I was thinking ‘No, we’re not friends, we’re competitors and I’m going to be mean and be a jerk.’ If you don’t have the killer instinct, you’re going to lose.”
Boyd, the No. 1 seed, came out on fire, capturing the first 13 points on the way to a 6-4, 6-4 victory over the second-seeded Kuperstein. An hour later, the top-seeded Boyd and Kuperstein teamed up to knock off No. 2 Nicholas Khamphilath/Ryo Kojima of Foothill in the doubles final, 6-0, 6-2.
That gave Boyd the Triple Crown of community college men’s tennis with the state team title and individual state titles in singles and doubles.
“I wasn’t going to lose to him two times in a row,” said Boyd. “I was getting loud and keeping the ball rolling at the start. One key was me going to the net. If I had stayed back, he could have easily gotten used to my pace. That’s kind of what he did last time. He had some amazing passing shots but I think me moving forward was the difference.”
Boyd built a 4-1 lead in the first set, then Kuperstein rallied to within a game at 5-4. Boyd broke serve in the 10th game and won the set when Kuperstein’s backhand went into the net.
Kuperstein grabbed a 3-1 lead in the second set, then Boyd came back and tied it 4-4 with another service break. Boyd held serve to take a 5-4 advantage and won it 6-4 when Kuperstein double faulted on ad-out.
“It was a lot of fun playing against Kalman in the final and we had a lot of energy,” said Kuperstein. “Unfortunately today he got me but hopefully this won’t be the last time we play.
“He started off on fire. If I had a better start, I may have been able to take the first set. In the second set, I was up a break and I had momentum going but I just couldn’t pull it together.”
Kuperstein said he’s not planning to continue his career at a four-year school. Boyd, a transfer from USC, hasn’t decided where he’s going to play next season.
Boyd completes Triple Crown with CCCAA singles and doubles state titles
By Dave Loveton