The 2015 tennis season is shaping up to be a highly competitive one for Southern Athletic League teams, with Ripon Christian, Delhi and Denair High leading the pack. The Knights, as they did last season and in seasons past, sit atop the league standings while the Hawks sit with one loss and the Coyotes sit with two.
For Delhi, who finished second in league behind RC last season, the answer to whether or not they can dethrone the Knights will be answered on Thursday when the two meet for the second time. As for Denair, who are hunting for the school's first ever SAL Tennis title under new head coach Bill Weber, its players face a two week stretch of stiff competition that will end with back-to-back matches with RC and Delhi.
“We do look forward to being first seed in league. I think we have what it takes, we have every tool that we need,” Delhi coach Jesse Contreras said.
“The team goal is to win league, which is well within our reach,” Weber said.
Delhi will enter Thursday's match with RC fresh off a shutout win over Orestimba High. With only two of the day's nine matches reaching the third set, the Hawks won 9-0 with consistent play from the respective number one and two boys singles players, Paulo Mecadonio and Robert Gonzalez, and the respective one and two girls singles players, Mayra Covarrubias and Dayana Lujan.
Having already lost to RC earlier in the season, Thursday's match with RC is a must win for Delhi if it is to keep its SAL title dreams alive.
Denair also got into the winner's column on Tuesday, too, beating Gustine High 7-2 at home. The Coyotes top two boys singles players, Brian Dudley and Andrew Knapp mainainted their undefeated records on the season with nearly perfect straight set wins — Dudley won 6-0, 6-0 and Knapp won 6-1, 6-0 — while sophomore Abby Wilson won her match the same as Dudley, with perfect straight-set wins.
“They are really strong,” Weber said.
The Coyotes must now face Orestimba on Friday and Waterford High on Tuesday before their must-win rematches with RC and Delhi. After losing to RC 4-5 and to Delhi 3-6 — with three three-set matches and one 6-7 match against the Hawks — Denair is floating on more than hope as they approach the second of three rounds of league competition.