The tennis teams of Delhi, Turlock Christian, and Denair High have had to deal with Ripon Christian High all through the regular season, each team falling to the Knights and contributing to their perfect record.
Things were no different Thursday morning when the Hawks, Eagles, and Coyotes met with the rest of their Southern Athletic League opponents at Merced Junior College for the SAL League Singles Tournament. While players from each school experienced varying degrees of success, it was RC that reigned supreme as they advanced five players into the semifinals and filled all four spots in today’s finals matchups.
“Ripon Christian pretty much dominated the competition today,” Denair head coach Paul Michaelis said. “They beat the league 15-0 — that was their record — and they showed it today.”
Though RC dominated much of the action, Denair, TC, and Delhi each managed to earn a spot in the semifinals with Coyote Brian Dudley and Hawk Jesus Gonzalez representing the boys and Eagle Savannah Swanson representing the girls.
Dudley, who lost only one match during the regular season, found himself pitted against RC’s number two, Derrick Witt. Despite defeating Witt twice during the regular season, Dudley was unable to earn the victory and a spot in the finals as he lost the three-set battle.
“Brian had a really good regular season and he just couldn’t make it through the tournament today,” Michaelis said.
On the other side of the boys’ bracket, Gonzalez had to face Kyle VanVuren, RC’s top singles players. Gonzalez, who lost only three matches through the regular season, was dispatched in straight sets by VanVuren.
“His performance was really good. Towards the end he was just outplayed a little more,” Delhi’s head coach Jesse Gutierrez said.
As for Swanson, the most successful TC player on the day dominated her competition en route to her semifinals matchup with RC’s Makenna Koslosky. Once in the semifinals, the two ladies waged an all out war as the match required three sets – 6-7(5-7), 6-4, 6-1 – to decide a victor.
Many of Thursday’s singles players will switch to doubles play in today’s SAL League Doubles Tournament. Notable teams include Denair’s Dudley and Alex Knapp, defending SAL Doubles champions, and Delhi’s Gonzalez and Alfredo Vasquez.
“My doubles teams are pretty good,” Gutierrez said. “I expect them to go far.”
“We’re hopeful that we’ll get some kids into sections again this year,” Michaelis said.
Today’s tournament will also be held at Merced Junior College and is slated to start at 9:30 a.m. and will be accompanied by a first ever JV tournament as well.