“The doubles sweep was huge”

Ventura College men’s tennis team had a picture-perfect ending. Photo by Larry Gleeson 

On a picture-perfect day for tennis, the Ventura College men’s tennis team had a picture-perfect ending to their 2024 season with a 5-0 sweep over American River College from Sacramento in the 3C2A State Championship at the VC Tennis Center. Julian Tellez clinched the winner for the Pirates (18-6) in No. 4 singles after Rafael Matias had recorded a love and love win in the No. 2 slot. The title is the third for VC under longtime head coach Nelson Emery, their first since 2010.

The match was much closer that the final score indicated, especially in doubles play.

ARC’s No. 2 doubles pair held a 3-2 advantage over Matias and Tellez and their contest was tied 5-5 before the Pirates rallied to win three straight games to capture the first point of the championship, 8-5.

Court 3 was tied 2-2 before VC’s Robinson Pelluault and Edgar Ploquin took over by winning the next four games. Ventura won the contest 8-3 to go ahead 2-0.

Cody Ray Emery and Lucas Abreu took a 4-1 lead in the No. 1 doubles match for the Pirates before the Beaver’s duo came storming back to tie the score at 4-4. Both teams held serve until Ventura broke for a 7-5 advantage. ARC held on their next serve before Emery and Abreu posted the 8-6 victory to put the Pirates comfortably ahead, 3-0.

“The doubles sweep was huge,” said VC’s coach Emery. “I thought if we could get two doubles, we could split singles. We won all three.”

Buoyed by their sweep in doubles, the Pirates took full control in singles play as they won the first set in all six matches. Matias was the first to finish singles with his 6-0, 6-0 victory in the No. 2 slot to put VC on the precipice of the title. Soon thereafter, Tellez watch an ARC shot sail long as he completed his 6-2, 6-0 triumph at No. 4, clinching the crown for Ventura.

“This is why I’m here,” said Tellez, a product of Taft High School in Woodland Hills. “This is what I’ve been working for. It was state title time.”

The championship was extra special for Cody Ray, Ventura’s No. 1 player and the son the VC head coach.

“It feels awesome to win, especially with my dad,” said the younger Emery. “It’s crazy how things worked out.”

Coach Emery echoed the sentiments of his players.

“We played, we battled, (we’re a) bunch of fighters,” said Coach Emery, who has led VC to 12 State Final Fours in his 26 years at the helm of the Pirates’ ship. “We’ve had more talented teams, but this team had the toughness.”

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