For Davis High, Monday’s boys tennis match against St.Mary’s at the Community Park Tennis Complex was the equivalent of digging through the last layers of soft dirt before hitting bedrock.
The Blue Devils won every match to easily get past the Rams, 9-0, but will now face Oak Ridge on Wednesday in what DHS coach Dale Hersch believes will be one of the toughest semifinal contests in program history.
“All I want is my players to be ready to play,” Hersch said. “I just want these guys to be ready. It has been a while since we played a top team.”
On Monday, the Devils appeared to be ready for a tougher challenge.
DHS’ top singles player Glenn Hull overpowered Brandon James in a 6-1, 6-2 victory that saw Hull’s opposition scrambling all over the court in an effort to keep up.
“Glenn is playing great. He’s going to need to play this way in our upcoming matches,” Hersch said. “He plays at a high level and he knows how to do it.”
However, Hull will face a much stiffer test on Wednesday against Trojans standout Austin MacKay.
“Glenn can beat him, but (MacKay) is ranked higher, and is better overall,” Hersch said. “But I think Glenn, with a home crowd here, playing as well as he is playing, I think he has a good (chance) in a good match.”
At No. 2 singles, Andrew Dumit also looked sharp for the Devils, beating Michael Martini of the Rams, 6-0, 6-1.
“(Dumit) is a really, really solid number two player and you have to play at your highest level to beat him,” Hersch said. “He can be a little streaky, but when he starts feeling it, he’s not going to let you get in there.”
Elsewhere, Garrett Hosley played in the only close match of the day, beating out Jake Mineles, 6-2, 4-6, 10-5.
Russ Richardson won 6-0, 6-0, Paul Klavins took a 6-1, 6-0 match and Matt Buckley came out on top, 6-0, 6-0, to round out the rest of the locals’ singles victories.
In the doubles, Davis’ Sam Theg and Ben Alpers captured a 6-3, 6-3 decision, while Isaac Yee and Isaac Zhang cruised to a 6-2, 6-0 victory. Nick Kane and Matt Yee also dominated in a 6-1, 6-0 win.
The all-around domination showcased DHS’ depth in the doubles, which Hersch believes is one of the team’s greatest strengths heading into the matchup with Oak Ridge.
“If you ask any coach in the section, they’ll say it’s our depth,” the veteran coach said. “We’ve always won (at least) two doubles (matches). I’ve never only won one double, ever.”
However, Hersch acknowledges inexperience could be a disadvantage when going against the likes of the Trojans and Jesuit. The Blue Devils could face the Marauders if they make Friday’s section finals.
“We’re young, we’re not really battle-tested. But I figure we’re going to win two or three of the doubles, which we need (against Oak Ridge),” Hersch said. “Again, I have a lot of new guys. This year, in the top 12, we have one senior.”
Today, Hersch will attempt to get his young team ready with a strong day of practice:
“We’re going to go hard for a little while and just kind of talk. Again, I can tell them, but sometimes they step out on the court and they don’t realize it until it’s too late.”
— Reach Will Bellamy at firstname.lastname@example.org