College of the Desert claims 15th men's tennis state championship by beating Foothill, 5-1

College of the Desert beat Foothill College, 5-1, on Tuesday to win the 11th CCCAA Men's Tennis State Championship in school history. (Photo by Mike Baker)
College of the Desert beat Foothill College, 5-1, on Tuesday to win the 15th CCCAA Men's Tennis State Championship in school history. (Photo by Mike Baker)

By Dave Loveton, Santa Barbara City College Athletics

VENTURA  College of the Desert’s No. 1 doubles erased a 5-1 deficit to win their set 8-6 on Wednesday and Manfred Vogt capped a dramatic 7-6 (7), 6-3 triumph with an ace serve that secured a 5-1 victory over Foothill in the CCCAA Men’s Tennis Team Final at the Pierpont Racquet Club.

Desert posted its 13th straight win to finish at 19-1. The Roadrunners won their 15th state title, more than any other team in the 60-year history of the event. Foothill, which has the second-most state titles (11), had its 13-match win streak snapped and ends up 15-2.

Desert was the No. 3 seed from the South and the Owls were the No. 1 seed from the North.

After falling behind 4-0 and 5-1 in the No. 1 doubles, Kalman Boyd and Alex Kuperstein reeled off five straight games to take a 6-5 lead. “We’re here to fight,” screamed Kuperstein after his team took the lead.

Nick Khamphilath/Ryo Kojima tied it up at 6-6 and then Boyd held serve for a 7-6 lead. The Roadrunners broke Foothill’s serve and Kuperstein drilled a cross-court winner to secure the 8-6 victory.

 “We brought the energy, got the crowd behind us and started playing our game,” said Kuperstein, a freshman from Palm Desert High. “Once we started doing that, we just took control.

 “I felt really confident in my singles match. I knew my opponent’s game really well and I exploited it. I had a feeling Manny would clinch the title. I’m so happy for him because he lost his last two matches in the quarters and semis. I’m beyond happy right now.”

 Vogt and Sebastian Gomez Romero took the No. 2 doubles point and Taiki Maeda/Justin Ip won the No. 3 set 8-4 for Foothill. Desert took a 2-1 lead into the six singles matches.

 Boyd cruised to a 6-0, 6-0 win over Evan Gazikian at No. 1 and Kuperstein took care of Kojima 6-2, 6-0 at No. 2. Saar Rogovski, a freshman from Israel, was poised to wrap up the match at No. 4, leading 5-2 and 40-0 in the second set. But Maeda got hot and won five straight games to take the set 7-5 and even the match at 1-set apiece.

At the next court over, Vogt and Khamphilath were tied 6-6 in the first set. Then they played an epic tiebreaker, which Vogt won 9-7 when a service return went into the net. Vogt grabbed a 4-1 lead in set No. 2, then Khamphilath rallied to within a game at 4-3. At that point, Khamphilath had to take a 10-minute timeout to get a massage for leg cramps.

 At 5-3, Vogt served for the state title. He slammed a shot at the net to make it 40-love and then won it with an ace serve.

 “That was a really close match,” said Roadrunner coach Guy Fritz. “Our No. 1 doubles is the best doubles team in the state and the other team is also very good. We got off to a slow start, then made a great comeback.

“When you get two out of three doubles, that really sets the tone. We got great performances from Kalman and Alex in doubles and singles. And it was awesome to see our No. 3 Manny get the clinching point after he had a whole month of German measles.

 “This is about my eighth or ninth state title. I coached here for many years but I hadn’t been the coach for 15 years because I was coaching Coco Vanderweghe, who won the U.S. Open doubles last year, and my son, Taylor Fritz, who’s ranked 40th in the world. Then I came back to coach Desert this year.”

 And it turned into quite a welcome-back present.

College of the Desert 5, Foothill 1

1. Boyd/Kuperstein (COD) def. Khamphilath/Kojima (FC), 8-6
2. Vogt/Gomez Romero (COD) def. Vigdorchik/Tokuyama (FC), 8-2
3. Maeda/Justin Ip (FC) def. Rogovski/Hosain (COD), 8-4

Order of Finish: 2, 1, 3

1. Kalman Boyd (COD) def. Evan Gazikian (FC), 6-0, 6-0
2. Alex Kuperstein (COD) def. Ryo Kojima (FC), 6-2, 6-0
3. Manfred Vogt (COD) def. Nick Khamphilath (FC), 7-6 (7), 6-3
4. Taiki Maeda (FC) vs. Saar Rogovski (COD), 2-6, 7-5, 3-1, DNF
5. Sebastian Gomez Romero (COD) vs. Yu Tokuyama (FC), 4-6, 6-3, 5-2, DNF
6. Syed Hosain (COD)  vs. Levi Vigdorchik (FC), 2-6, 6-0, 3-2, DNF

Order of Finish: 1, 2, 3