SACRAMENTO — It came as no surprise Wednesday when, for the fourth year in a row, the Davis High and Jesuit boys tennis teams were matched up in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I finals.
What was a surprise, though, was that the Blue Devils managed to take a match from the heavily favored Marauders at the Rio Del Oro Raquet Club.
Featuring SJS singles champ Anataily Beynors at No. 1, Jesuit defeated DHS, 8-1, forcing the Devils to play Friday against the D-II section titlist — expected to be Rio Americano — to determine which team qualifies for CIF NorCal Regionals.
The No. 3 doubles team of Alex Chen and James Cole grabbed a 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 win for the Blue Devils.
“I feel great. Obviously I’d rather win, but as I’ve been telling everybody, it’s hard to upset teams in tennis,” said DHS coach Dale Hersch. “I knew the lineup for Jesuit, and they’re loaded. I’m very pleased. I couldn’t ask for more. I wanted Jesuit to sit down and wait and not just roll through us. Our guys played as hard as they can play, and I’m very proud of them.”
The Marauders won five of the six singles matches in straight sets, with only Devil No. 4 Chase Kellison forcing his opponent to go the distance, 4-6, 7-6, 10-5.
The other match that went to a third set was No. 1 doubles, where Hersch called the performances of Victor Li and Jaspar Murphy in a 6-7, 6-2, 6-3 loss like a victory.
Davis No. 1 Dan Segedin also played well, narrowly losing to Beynors, 6-4, 7-5, while No. 6 David Wang had a close match, falling 6-4, 6-3.
“I don’t know much about Rio,” Hersch said about his probable opponent for Friday. “They’re strong. Their top four is solid. I don’t know much after that, but they’re going to give us a fight, so we’re looking forward to it.”
“I’d call it a toss-up,” the Blue Devil coach answered when asked about his team’s chances. “I think we might be a little favored. If we play like (we did Wednesday), I think we’ll win.”
Notes: This was Jesuit’s second straight SJS title, beating DHS, 7-2, in the finals last year. The Devils dropped the Marauders, 5-4 and 6-3, respectively, the previous two seasons to finish off a championship four-peat.
— Reach Evan Ream at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanReam