Pali High Tennis Wins Singles and Doubles Championships to Complete City Sweep
By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor
Winning the City Section’s “triple crown” in tennis is no small feat, but for the third time in the last five seasons the Palisades High boys pulled it off.
The first jewel in the crown was fitted three weeks ago when the Dolphins beat Granada Hills for their 11th straight team title. The second and third gems were added last Wednesday when Henry Lovett defeated senior teammate Danilo Milic, 6-4, 6-4, in the Individual singles final while the freshman duo of Noah Zaret and Michael Kaplan ousted teammates Landon Cronin and Souma Hayakawa, 6-3, 6-3, in the doubles final.
“It feels great to do this,” said Lovett, who has signed with Tulane and opted not to play his junior year in order to improve his USTA ranking. “I tried to take things point-by-point, not let negative thoughts get the best of me like they did in Ojai.”
Milic trailed 5-2 in the first set but battled back to within 5-4 before hitting a drop shot from the baseline into the net to give his opponent a break and the set.
Jack Harrington and Tomas Huttepain won the doubles title last spring but the Dolphins were denied the triple crown when Milic lost in the semifinals to Mike Mkrtchian of Sherman Oaks CES before recovering to win the third-pace match against Birmingham’s Maximus Catabona (now playing for Sylmar).
“He’d been playing singles all year and I’d had a bunch of partners, but Michael and I paired up against Loyola and we’ve been a team ever since,” said Zaret, whose sister Perri captained the Dolphins’ girls squad and made the 2011 doubles final with Julie Takakjian. “His game meshes with mine really well.”
Kaplan hinted he’d like to try for the singles title next year: “It depends on our lineup but I’d like to win in singles. Team titles are great, this is more for yourself.”
Adam Glickman and Luke Shuman won the last nine games to beat Granada Hills’ Shaan Londhe and Sam Blumkin, 1-6, 7-5, 6-0, in the third place match.
Palisades’ last trifecta came two years ago when Lucas Bellamy beat teammate Diego Huttepain in the singles final and Lovett partnered with Lincoln Bellamy to win the doubles title. Palisades also tripled in 2015 when Ben Goldberg took the singles title and Diego Huttepain and Barron Chavez won the doubles title.