Delhi High head coach Felipe Espino said when he took over the varsity tennis team that he wanted to establish a winning program and achieve something that no other prior athletic team at Delhi had — win a Section Championship.
Espino and the Delhi co-ed tennis team saw their hard work pay off after an undefeated season came to a close on Tuesday afternoon when they captured the Division-II Sac-Joaquin Section Championship after defeating No. 3 Amador, 5-4, from the Oak Park Tennis Center in Stockton.
“It was like a movie, it was crazy… both crowds were cheering because everything was on the line in the final match at 4-4,” said Espino. “It was up and down. It was both schools’ first Section final appearance in tennis and both fought for it, battle till the end, it was crazy.”
After a wild start to the match, both teams’ momentums swayed drastically.
Delhi took an early advantage as they went up 3-0 after winning the first three matches that included victories by both singles players.
Delhi’s No. 1 boys singles Jesse Ponce and No. 2 Harjap Bilg picked up victories for the Hawks and set them up nicely.
Both the girls doubles teams fell and Adrian Revulta and Evelyn Vega in the mixed doubles won, 6-0, 6-4.
Before Espino knew it, Amador had fought back to take a 4-3 lead, with just two matches remaining.
“The team score was 3-4 with 2nd boys and 2nd girls. They needed one more win and we needed both,” said Espino. “My 2nd boy singles lost the first set, but like I knew he would, he came back strong in the last two sets to win and bring us to a tie. Then the crowd all went to 2nd girls singles match. It was dramatic.”
Following a win to make it 4-4, the stage was set for a winner-take-all battle at No. 2 girls singles.
Sophomore and daughter of Espino, Mira, was the deciding match. Espino won her match 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 5-5, following an exit from an opponent that was unable to continue.
No. 1 girls singles player Ailene Salazar dropped her match in straight sets.
The No. 1 boys doubles team of Benjamin Garcia and Diego Jimenez lost their match 0-6, 6-0, 5-7.
The No. 2 boys doubles squad of Ezequiel Cervantes and Eduardo Arroyo won their match in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2.
“It was a quiet celebration because we wanted to be respectful and the officials said of all the years doing it, this has never happened,” said Espino. “The girls had many medical timeouts and the official called it.”
They stayed perfect as their unblemished record gave them their best season that any athletic program has seen in Hawks history.
As a team, Delhi stayed undefeated throughout the year, including an unbeaten Southern League run. They finished the playoffs with a 3-0 record to stay unbeaten.