By Dan Robbins
Special to Valley News 

Tennis: 48 game winning streak puts Wolfpack boys on track for deep playoff run


Last updated 4/6/2018 at 10:51am


The Great Oak High School boy's tennis team are looking at another playoff run this year. Pictured from left are, sophomore Jaedon Le, freshman Keon Anwar, sophomore John Burdick-Rutz, junior Louis Leavitt, sophomore Andy Gibson, senior Ben Burdick-Rutz, senior Nicolo Vilassis, sophomore Raymond Lee, junior Mehran Arabshahi, senior Steven Howe, sophomore Thomas Westman, freshman Martin Arabshahi and Coach Ray Fisher.

The Great Oak boys' tennis team has been untouchable in Southwestern League play, with four straight undefeated league championships and a 48 game league win streak. Senior captains Ben Burdick-Rutz and Steve Howe have never seen their team lose a league match and this year looks to be no different. The Wolfpack is fully stacked at every position with tournament-level talent 15 players deep and they are off to the best start in the program's history with an 11-0 record.

Due to their recent success, Great Oak has been moved up to Division 2 in CIF. This year to prepare for playoffs, coach Ray Fisher scheduled matches with three D1 powerhouse schools – Palm Desert, Cypress and Yorba Linda – and the Wolfpack has beaten them all, earning a No. 1 Ranking in the first Division 2 CIF poll.

John Burdick-Rutz was a huge part of the Palm Desert Victory, returning to serve out a crucial game while injured, and he looks to return for playoffs. In his absence the doubles teams have not missed a beat.

"Our depth is the key factor to our success. Coach always tells us we are only as good as our 10th and 11th players. Nobody worries when we have an illness or injury because we are so deep," said John Burdick-Rutz.

Senior Steve Howe attributes the team's success to the talented underclassmen.

"Without our three singles and three doubles doing their jobs in matches we wouldn't stand a chance against top teams," Howe said. "This is the most exciting year we have had. Coach Fisher has trained us to not only be stronger physically but mentally as well."

Junior singles starter Mehran Arabshahi credits players' ability and dedication to the sport.

"Our depth has helped each of us push past our limits in order to get better and to succeed in those tough, tight matches," he said.

For senior Ben Burdick-Rutz it all boils down to the team's abundance of confidence which he believes allows them to win matches against many strong teams.

"It's something we hope will influence the younger players on our team and future players," he said.

The courts at Great Oak High School are filled every night with younger GOHS players and future players, making the future team prospects bright.

First, the league season must be completed, with the SW League Finals at Murrieta Tennis Club May 3 and 4. With Great Oak favored to finish the SW league undefeated, Coach Fisher has his sights set on this year's playoffs.

"We have an experienced line up deep in singles and in doubles," Fisher said. "We are looking forward to making a deep run in the CIF playoffs this year."


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