In what is turning out to be the Cerritos State Championships in Ojai, the Falcon men's tennis team accounted for three of the four singles and doubles semifinalists after the end of the third day of the CCCAA State Championships. On Sunday, freshmen Kent Hunter and Alex Prokopchuk will square off for the singles state title at Libbey Park in Ojai at 11:00 a.m. They will also be part of both doubles semifinal matches, which will get underway at 8:00 a.m.
On a special note, Prokopchuk's sister, Kseniia, will also be playing for the CCCAA Women's Singles Championship, marking the first time a brother-sister combo has reached the championship match. Both have played this season as the Falcons #3 singles players.
Hunter, the #1 seed for the tournament, ousted Ventura College's Priyank Soni, 6-1, 6-0 in the quarterfinals and followed with a 6-2, 6-1 win over #4-seeded Kayne Trustfall of Riverside City College. In his five singles matches at the state tournament, Hunter, who's 28-0 on the year, has dropped just eight games. In the other quarterfinal matches, Prokopchuk, who's seeded #7, upset #2-seeded Kyrlyo Kryvchun of College of the Desert, 6-1, 6-2, while freshman teammate Victor Castro, eliminated #3-seeded Michael Bott of Irvine Valley College, 6-1, 6-1.
The wins by Hunter, Prokopchuk and Castro meant that three of the four semifinalist came from the same school, a feat that may never have been accomplished before. Castro and Prokopchuk then squared off in the semifinals, where a stomach ailment forced Castro to withdraw, even though he was leading, 6-2, 3-1 at the time.
"I've been playing well the whole tournament but in this match, I think I took it to another level," Hunter told the CCCAA after his semifinal match. "Everything was working, my volleys, my serve, my forehand. I had very few unforced errors."
Hunter said he's played Prokopchuk many times in practice and it will be a challenge to face him in the state final.
"It will definitely be difficult," he stated. "I know his play style, so I kind of know what to expect. But it's not going to be easy."
In doubles action, #1-seeded Hunter and Castro opened with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Will Molenkamp and Patrick Trhac of Palomar College, which will pit them against the biggest surprise of the state championships in the semifinals. They will be taking on teammates Dario Rico-Altozano and Kwangeun Lee, who are seeded #15 and earned a 6-0, 6-4 win in their lone match of the day. The Falcons other doubles team, #2-seeded Prokopchuk and Marcos Paulo Silvestre, earned a 6-4, 6-2 win over Orange Coast College's Joey Dijkstra and Matthew Lindsey in the quarterfinals. They will take on Bott and Thallys Santos, a #6-seeded team from Irvine Valley on Sunday morning in the other semifinal.
The trio of doubles teams from the same school reaching the semifinals is also a CCCAA accomplishment never occuring until this season.
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March 20, 2018 M. Tennis: Loss to NCAA DIII school snaps streak
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