SRJC Doubles Tennis Pair Dominant in Ojai Tournament

Thomas De Alba, Co-Editor-in-Chief

The 2013 tennis season began cold and damp on the Izzy Derkos Courts at Santa Rosa Junior College, and concluded this weekend in hot and sunny southern California.

The SRJC Tennis team went into the prestigious tournament looking to make a name for its self, and achieved when doubles pair Zak Bohegian and Jon Sharp made it to the quarterfinals ranked as the eighth seeded pair in state.

The Bear Cubs golden pair started off the tournament with a bye in the round of 128 after earning it with their dominant play during the regular season.

After much anticipation, the duo got their chance to play in the round of 64, where they plastered their first opponents from Orange Coast in straight sets. Bohegian and Sharp quickly exposed the matchup against Francesco Nguyen and Anthony Thai as a mismatch, when they took the first set in dominant fashion by a score of 6-2. Unwilling to relent, SRJC’s pair pressed the offense and sealed the deal by taking the second set 6-1.

A quick and decisive victory not only saved the doubles pairs energy, but it gave them confidence going forward and set the tempo for what was to come.

The road ahead proved to be much more strenuous, when Bohegian and Sharp took on Saddleback Colleges Chris Bloom and Donnie Howren in what would be one of the most intense matches of the tournament.

The match got off to a furious start when Bohegian and Sharp played as the aggressors in the first set. They kept it close, and ultimately took the first set 7-6; (7-5) after winning the first tiebreak. The second set was a different story, when the opposition roared back taking the second set 6-4. The key to the match was that they did not let losing the second affect them mentally as they prepared for the third set tiebreak.  In the final set tiebreak, both teams battled back and forth in a war of attrition. Both squads were deadlocked at 9-9, when suddenly Bohegian and Sharp delivered the final blow, ending the grueling match 5-7, 6-4, 11-9.

“It was tight back and forth the whole match” said head coach Jay Samonte.

Despite coming off an emotional victory, Bohegian and Sharp maintained their poise and composure as they headed toward the round of 16. Being SRJC’s sole representatives at this point in the tournament, the two couldn’t afford to grow complacent after making it so far in the tournament.

In the sweet 16, Bohegian and Sharp took on Mt. San Jacintos pair of Bruno Campos and Gabriel Da Costa. Almost in throwback fashion to their first match of the tournament, Bohegian and Sharp came out swinging, taking the first set 6-2. Their opponents whipped themselves back into shape, and gave Bohegian and Sharp a run for their money, before finally falling 7-6 (7-3) in a tiebreak.

Bohegian and Sharp lived to fight another day, as they progressed to the quarterfinal round the next day, where they faced the number one seeded pair from Fresno City College in Sam Bertram and Adam De Romas.

Bertram and De Romas were dominant throughout the entire tournament, and didn’t slow down when they took on Bohegian and Sharp. Despite putting up their best efforts, Bohegian and Sharp were overpowered by the top seeded titans, falling 2-6, 3-6, ending SRJC’s run toward a doubles title.

With the season finally wrapped up, the Bear Cubs look to improve their mediocre 7-9 overall record this season. Fortunately for the team, a majority of the team is returning, including Bohegian and Sharp.

Sadly, the team says goodbye to team Capitan Chase Sariaslani, who played most of his matches at the number 1 and 2 singles slot for the team.

Coach Samonte believes the experience was good for the team, and looks forward to working with them again next year.

“That’s whats nice about the Ojai athletic club. Big crowd, nice club and tennis heaven,” Samonte said. “We’ve got everyone coming back except Chase (Sariaslani), looking forward to working hard next year.”