Men's Tennis

Men's tennis team falls to Fresno City in state final

Men's tennis team falls to Fresno City in state final

Irvine Valley's men's tennis team came up a little short in its first trip to the CCCAA Team State Championship final.

The Lasers fell to two-time defending state champion Fresno City, 5-2, on Wednesday afternoon at Ventura College.

The win not only clinched Fresno City its third straight title, but was also the team's 58th straight victory.

Irvine Valley still had a season to remember.

The Lasers went 10-0 in the Orange Empire Conference to win their first ever conference title.

IVC also reached the CCCAA playoffs for the first time, hosted its first playoff match, won the So. Cal. Regional final and ended first in Southern California and second in the state.

Irvine Valley finishes the team season with a record of 17-3. The only community college team it lost to this year was Fresno City.

Fresno City (18-0) took an early lead in the state final, winning all three doubles matches.

IVC's No. 1 team of freshmen Jack Divorty and Benjamin Groud played tough, but lost, 8-6 to the team of Alec Bessinger and Adrien Varenne.

Irvine Valley's No. 3 team of sophomore Steven Le and freshman Kevin Pham also lost, 8-6, falling to Fresno City's Scott Gray and Jakov Tshirkin.

The Laser duo held a 6-1 lead, but Gray and Tshirkin won seven straight games for the victory.

"That was an incredible comeback by our No. 3 doubles," said Rams' coach Hank Bessinger. "If we go down 2-1, I think we lose this match."

The Lasers didn't give in, however. The singles competition was tight.

Freshman Guillermo Ucelay won, 6-3, 6-0, over Fresno City's Matt Alves at No. 1 singles and sophomore James Lafond beat Joey Rivera, 6-3, 6-1 at No. 6 singles for Irvine Valley.

But Fresno City picked up wins at No. 3 and No. 5 singles to end the match and take the title.

Fresno City clinched it with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 win by Bessinger over IVC's Pham at No. 4 singles.

The two other singles matches that were still on the courts were up in the air. IVC freshman Simon Guillin was in a third set at No. 2 singles and sophomore Steven Le had split sets at No. 4 singles for the Lasers.

"You have to credit Irvine Valley, it's the first time they've been in this position," Bessinger said of IVC being in the state final. "We thought we could intimidate them a little with our 57 straight wins but we didn't.
"After going down 3-0 in doubles, they came out and fought like crazy. That's what makes the college tennis experience – when you have two teams fighting like that."

The Lasers still had a lot to be proud of this season.

"We didn't want to start 0-3 in doubles," said IVC women's coach Amber Vann, who was filling in for men's coach Ross Duncan. "When we started singles, we knew we had a fighting chance.

"This team had all the heart and all the ability to make it happen but unfortunately, Fresno had a better day."  

Duncan, the Lasers' second-year coach, missed the match because he's playing for the USA in this week's ITA Senior World Team Championships in Florida.

Irvine Valley will continue individual play the next three days in Ventura and Ojai.

The state singles and doubles tournaments begin on Thursday. IVC has six singles players and three doubles teams in the event.


1)  Guillermo Ucelay (IVC) def. Matt Alves (FCC) 6-3, 6-0

2)  Simon Guillin (IVC) vs. Jakov Tshirkin (FCC), 3-6, 6-2, 4-2 (unfinished)        

3)  Scott Gray (FCC) def. Benjamin Groud (IVC) 6-2, 6-2

4)  Adrien Varenne (FCC) vs. Steven Le (IVC), 3-6, 6-4 (unfinished)

5)  Alec Bessinger (FCC) def. Kevin Pham (IVC) 4-6, 6-2, 6-4                 

6)  James Lafond (IVC) def. Joey Rivera (FCC) 6-3, 6-1


1) Varenne/Bessinger (FCC) def. Groud/Jack Divorty (IVC) 8-6

2) Alves/Rivera (FCC) def. Ucelay/Guillin (IVC) 8-3

3) Tshirkin/Gray (FCC) def. Le/Pham (IVC) 8-6

Irvine Valley College provides this web space for the use of its faculty, staff and other representatives of the college for the purpose of furthering the educational goals of the institution and enhancing the academic experience of its students. This is the official web site of Irvine Valley College Athletics. The data, statistics, photos, rosters and schedules used on this web site were gathered by the IVC Sports Information Office. Other web sites containing information about Irvine Valley College Athletics not within the official college web site may not be accurate. Questions or comments about this web site can be directed to

View: Mobile | Desktop