Senior captain Robbie Erani (New York, NY) and junior Alex Lane (Claremont, CA) [pictured right] won the Ojai Division III Doubles Championship on Sunday, defeating top seeds Nicholas Ballou and Ray Worley of Cal Lutheran 4-6, 6-1, 7-5. Erani and Lane became the third unseeded and #3 team in as many years to win the Ojai doubles title, which began when Eric MacColl (CMC '10) and current senior Brandon Wei (Lake Oswego, OR) won in 2010.
Their path to the championship was anything but conventional, as CMS' #3 team saved a match point in the first round against 6th seeded Erik Rosner and Ian Stanley of UC Santa Cruz before winning 9-7. In the quarterfinals, Erani and Lane then knocked off second seeds Max Sabel and Frankie Allinson of Pomona-Pitzer 8-4, followed by an 8-2 win over teammates Warren Wood (Fr. - Del Mar, CA) and Nik Marino (Fr. - San Diego, CA) in the semis.
The championship match on court #1 at Libbey Park provided the climactic drama commensurate with the match up of an unseeded team against the pre-tournament favorites. After dropping the first set 6-4, Erani and Lane won ten of the next twelve games to take a seemingly insurmountable two break 4-1 lead in the third set. Ballou and Worley broke back in a tight sixth game to get to 4-2, and then reeled off two easy holds and another break to put themselves within a game of the title. With Lane serving at 4-5, 15-30, CMS' #3 team barely escaped an eight ball rally to even the game, and then held for 5-all two points later. With the momentum shift back to the Stags, Erani and Lane then broke at fifteen before Erani served out the match at love. It was Erani and Lane's ninth win as pair without a loss on the season, with all five of the teams they defeated at Ojai having played #1 for their respective teams.
The win also caps a strong Ojai for CMS in both singles and doubles. In singles, six of the eight Stags entered reached the Round of 16, while four advanced to the quarters, and Lane reaching the semis. Junior Mac Cahill (Southport, CT) advanced to the quarters with wins over 4th seed Tommy Meyer of Pomona-Pitzer and #9 seed Worley. In the doubles, three of the four CMS teams entered got to the quarters, with Wood-Marino falling to eventual champs Erani-Lane in the semis.
CMS has now won Ojai titles in four consecutive years, with Lawrence Wang winning the singles title in 2009, MacColl and Wei capturing the doubles title in 2010, Lane winning the singles in 2011, and now Erani and Lane adding a doubles title in 2012.
CMS will compete this Friday and Saturday in the SCIAC tournament at Redlands. As the tournament's top seeded team, the Stags will face the winner of #4 Redlands vs #5 Whittier at 2:30 PM on Friday. Final matches will be played Saturday at 10:00 AM.