The Davis High girls tennis team that outclassed Lodi in the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section tournament on Tuesday is one intent on the accolades that await in the finals.
Whether or not the Flames were going to trouble the Blue Devils in their quest to advance in the playoffs was an unknown, given that it was the first ever meeting between the squads. All the locals knew of Lodi’s squad was that it had beaten its rival, Tokay High, in Monday’s first round.
But DHS No. 1 singles player Cat Paw U, fresh off of winning the Delta Valley Conference singles tournament, provided some hints early on — within her first game — as to what the outcome would be in the contest at the Community Park Tennis Complex.
Paw U tugged her visibly frustrated opponent back and forth across the court throughout with tactical placement. The strategist won the first game upon lobbing the ball to the far end of the court, one swing after making her opponent sprint forward with a wicked drop shot.
On the court opposite to Paw U, who eventually claimed victory in her match, 6-1, 6-3, Devil No. 5 Jenna Mould was incorporating some of the same artifice. Her varied shots, alternating between the left and right corners, led her to the evening’s most convincing singles win, 6-0, 6-1.
However, that’s not to take away from the compelling results that were coming in from the other Davis singles players. Matches also ended in favor of No. 2 Angela Donahue (7-5, 6-4), No. 3 Lauren Duan (6-1, 6-2), No. 4 Marlena Angermann (6-4, 7-6) and No. 6 Grace Kaplan (6-4, 6-1).
There was a similar narrative playing out on the doubles courts, where the No. 1 Blue Devil pair of Megan Ewens and Angela Fleming made a hasty exit of the court following another persuasive straight-set win (6-1, 6-1).
Senior Cat Archer was joined by sophomore Katherine Murdoch in the No. 2 doubles slot, where the duo cruised to a 6-0, 6-2 victory. The sophomores who played at No. 3, Sherry Zheng and Elena Neale-Sacks, similarly triumphed with a sweep in their match (6-0, 6-0).
DHS coach Sally Hosley knows the competition gets better as the Devils go deeper into the playoffs. Next up for the locals is a quarterfinal match against Gregori, which is coming off of a 5-4 upset of Granite Bay on Tuesday.
“Our match against Lodi was a step or two above a league match, yet (the next opponent) is going to be a lot tougher than that,” Hosley said. “Our girls don’t see a lot of tough opponents, so we’ll need some solid practice time between now and them.”
Davis was expecting to see the Grizzlies, who defeated the Blue Devils in the 2012 section finals, but instead will face Gregori, which is from Modesto.
The Blue Devils have until Monday to prepare, then will host the Jaguars in a 2 p.m. match at the Community Park Tennis Complex. If DHS wins, it will play in the semifinals the following day, which Hosley suggests may be against Del Oro (a team against which the Devils have a 1-1 record this season).
— Reach Brett Johnson at email@example.com or 530-747-8052. Follow him on Twitter at @ReporterBrett.