By Dave Loveton
Santa Barbara City College Sports Information
VENTURA, Calif. - Irvine Valley followed a similar path against the same opponent on Wednesday in the CCCAA State Dual Team Men's Tennis Championship at the Pierpont Racquet Club.
The Lasers took a 2-1 lead in doubles, then won the Nos. 5, 1 and 4 singles to secure their third straight State title with a 5-1 win over American River. It was a rematch of last year's State final between the two No. 1 seeds and the score was the same.
Irvine Valley (19-0) completed an undefeated season for the first time in school history. They've won 35 straight matches and are 58-3 in the last three years with all three losses coming to four-year schools. This was their fourth straight appearance in the California State final and they're 3-1.
"It's an unbelievable feeling," said Wyatt DeMulling, a freshman from Highline High in Washington state. "This whole entire year, we've become so much closer. We're more than a team, we're a family and this is just unbelievable.
"In doubles (with Chris Politiek), we've had an incredible season. When we first started, we didn't click very well but then Ross (coach Ross Duncan) kept putting us together and having us do a lot drills to help us with poaching. We went undefeated in doubles and that was awesome."
DeMulling/Politiek won their No. 2 doubles set 8-3 over Andy Vang/Justin Barton, just one minute after Lesek Mirecki and Gavin Lynch secured an 8-3 win in the No. 3 doubles.
The Lasers won the first set in the first five singles with defending State singles champ Javi Callejo having the toughest time, outlasting Michael Vizcarra 7-6 (4).
Ardi Safi finished off Eric De Romas 6-2, 6-1 for a 3-1 IVC lead at 3:26 p.m. DeMulling completed a 6-1, 6-1 victory by breaking Cody Duong's serve at 40-15 on a strong backhand to the right corner that Duong returned wide left.
Cody Duong is the No. 1 seed in the North for the CCCAA State Individual Championships that will run from Thursday to Sunday at the 117th Ojai Tournament. DeMulling is the No. 3 seed in the South.
"This was by far, the best match I've played all season," said DeMulling. "I've played against Maximilien Blancaneaux from Cypress in conference and I played well in those matches but this was my best. I was in control most of the match. I lost my serve twice and I tensed up the second time because I had a couple of match points."
Two minutes later, Politiek, a left-handed freshman from the Netherlands, secured the fifth point with a 6-4, 6-4 triumph over Neville Cooper.
Cody Duong and Tam Duong got the lone point for American River (17-2) with an 8-4 win at No. 1 doubles. American River was the No. 1 Northern Cal seed from Sacramento.
"It feels great," said IVC coach Ross Duncan. "Nothing can be taken for granted and we have to fight in every match. Fortunately things went our way.
"There's ups and downs in every season but we were able to fight through when things were down and compete together. Our big keys are team spirit and camaraderie."
Irvine Valley is the second straight men's team to win three straight state titles, following in the footsteps of Fresno City which did it between 2012-14. College of the Desert holds the all-time record with six straight state titles from 1998-2003.
Irvine Valley 5, American River 1
Pierpont Racquet Club (Ventura, Calif.)
1. Cody Duong/Tam Duong (ARC) def. Javi Callejo/Lucas Lesoeur (IVC) 8-4
2. Wyatt DeMulling/Chris Politiek (IVC) def. Andy Vang/Justin Barton (ARC) 8-3
3. Lesek Mirecki/Gavin Lynch (IVC) def. Michael Vizcarra/Neville Cooper (ARC) 8-3
1. Wyatt DeMulling (IVC) def. Cody Duong (ARC) 6-1, 6-1
2. Lucas Lesoeur (IVC) vs. Tam Duong (ARC) 6-3, 5-2, unfinished
3. Javi Callejo (IVC) vs. Michael Vizcarra (ARC) 7-6 (4), 0-3, unfinished
4. Chris Politiek (IVC) def. Neville Cooper (ARC) 6-4, 6-4
5. Ardi Safi (IVC) def. Eric De Romas (ARC) 6-2, 6-1
6. Lesek Mirecki (IVC) vs. Andy Vang (ARC) 3-6, 5-2, unfinished
Order of finish: Doubles 3, 2, 1. Singles 5, 1, 4.