Thursday, May 09 2013 11:03 PM

Bakersfield Christian tops Ridgeview to capture ninth straight boys tennis section title

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Sullivan Roche from BCHS does a fist pump after defeating Ridgeview's Brian Yanez in singles play Thursday.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Ridgeview High's Zach Martin teamed with Brian Yanez in doubles play to take on BCHS' Brad Robinson and David Porter.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    BCHS' Brad Robinson, left, and David Porter teamed to take on Ridgeview's Brian Yanez and Zach Martin in doubles play Thursday.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Ridgeview's Brian Yanez returns against Sullivan Roche of BCHS in their Thursday match.

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Sullivan Roche from BCHS returns a shot against Ridgeview's Brian Yanez in their number ones match Thursday. Roche won the match.

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BY ZACH EWING Californian staff writer

You'd think by now, Bakersfield Christian tennis coach Frank Thiessen would anticipate a Gatorade shower a little better.

Alas, the Eagles drenched an unsuspecting Thiessen again, drenching the 74-year-old with a bucket full of ice and red Gatorade after BCHS won the Central Section Division III boys tennis title -- its ninth consecutive team championship -- Thursday at home with a 6-3 victory over Ridgeview.

"They said it was just going to be water this year," Thiessen said. "I didn't see that coming."

It wasn't difficult, though, to foresee another Eagles championship. BCHS swept the six singles matches to secure victory before doubles play began, then inserted younger players in the lineup as Ridgeview took all three doubles matches.

Still, BCHS (22-6) and top player Sullivan Roche weren't taking the Wolf Pack lightly.

"We were walking over here, and Sullivan says to me, 'I can't believe how nervous I am,'" Thiessen said. "And I said, 'Good, that means you're going to play well because you care a lot.'"

Roche pulled out one of the two close singles matches, beating a game Brian Yanez, 6-3, 7-5.

"He gets a lot of credit; he's definitely improved his game," said Roche, who has played No. 1 for BCHS in four straight section-title matches. "That one was a struggle. I felt like nothing was going for me, and I really had to scrape by."

The other close singles match came at No. 6, where Joe Cao, a Chinese international student in his first year at BCHS, lost the first set to Ridgeview's Daniel Aquino before rebounding to win, 4-6, 6-2 (10-3).

"That's Joe," Thiessen said. "It seems like every time, he has problems in the first set, then he kind of gathers himself and wins in a tiebreaker. It feels like 90 percent of his matches have gone to a tiebreaker that he's won."

Nolan Schuler, Tanner Harris, Nicolo Daug and Brandon Paw all won their singles matches easily, with none dropping more than one game in any set.

When Cao finished his match, BCHS had an insurmountable lead. Roche finished off Yanez a minute or two later, putting an exclaimation point on a championship.

"It's always high-pressure because it's the finals," said Roche, who is the No. 2 seed at this weekend's individual area tournament. "But I think it was more this time, maybe because it was my last team match. We also knew almost nothing about Ridgeview. We haven't played anybody they played, so we didn't know how good they would be."

Ridgeview's only two losses coming in were both to Centennial, and the Wolf Pack (23-3) finished the year strong by winning all three doubles matches.

"It's been a great season," Ridgeview coach Laura Rice said. "The guys have worked really hard. We just ran into a tougher team today."

That's a familiar refrain for playoff teams that run into BCHS, which won the first six of its titles in Division V, the next two in Division IV and has now moved up to Division III without missing an opportunity to shower their coach with a sticky sports drink.

"It still means a lot, no matter how many times you do it," Thiessen said.

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