By Dave Loveton
Santa Barbara City College Sports Information
OJAI – It was a family affair on Sunday in the CCCAA Men’s Tennis Championships at Libbey Park.
Alexy Prokopchuk of Cerritos College watched his sister Kseniia win the women’s singles title in straight sets, then went out and got a state title of his own with a 6-3, 6-4 upset of No. 1 seed and teammate Kent Hunter.
The 6-4 Prokopchuk, a native of the Ukraine, was the No. 7 seed. He took out the 2, 3 and 1 seeds in the last three matches of his six-victory, four-day run to the championship.
“I felt like I played my best tennis of the year at this tourney,” said Prokopchuk. “I’ve played Kent a few times in practice and I felt like I knew some of the things he was trying to do today.”
Cerritos had three of the four semifinalists in singles and the Falcons were guaranteed to win on Sunday with all four finalists in the singles and doubles. Prokopchuk and Marcos Silvestre were seeded second in doubles. They took out the No. 6 seed from Irvine Valley in the 8 a.m. semifinals 6-2, 7-5, then beat the top-seeded Cerritos duo of Hunter/Victor Castro in a tight final, 3-6, 7-6 (5), 10-4.
That gave Prokopchuk the Triple Crown with the State team championship (they beat De Anza 5-0 on Wednesday) and individual titles in the State singles and doubles.
Prokopchuk and the left-handed Hunter gave an enjoyable performance in the singles final with plenty of hard-hitting exchanges and hustle throughout. Prokopchuk won the first set 6-3 and Hunter rallied to take a 4-3 lead in the second set by holding serve after four straight service breaks.
Prokopchuk broke Hunter again in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead. Serving for the match, he went up 30-15 on a forehand winner, then had two deuces before getting the last two points for the historic victory.
“It was great tennis, both guys played well,” said Quinn Caldaron, who coaches the Falcons’ men’s and women’s teams. “Alexy put a lot of pressure on Kent. That’s the best I’ve seen Alexy play … he was hitting hard and deep and made some incredible gets. It was really good tennis.”
And it was even better when his sister came out and posed for photos with her singles trophy and Alexy’s singles trophy. They both won the Triple Crown of Community College tennis.
“That’s pretty amazing to see a sister-brother both win titles,” Caldaron stated. “Neither one was favored to win the tournament. They played great and I could see that both were playing well coming into this tourney.
“It’s been a crazy year and a really exciting year. Our goal was to win the State championship and we knew we had the talent to make it happen. I’m really proud that they put in the work throughout the season and even though they were the favorite, they never let up in practice.”
Prokopchuk upsets top-seeded teammate to record first brother-sister double
By Dave Loveton