The Davis High girls tennis team found itself in unfamiliar territory when paired against Gregori High in the Sac-Joaquin Section semifinals on Monday, but nonetheless emerged triumphant.
And thus the Blue Devils have taken another step towards the finals of the SJS team tournament. The DHS girls, who are hoping for no less than a section title, found themselves closer to doing just that with Monday’s 7-2 win at the Community Park Tennis Complex.
That’s not to take away from the Jaguars, whose strength was quite present, especially at the top of their singles roster.
Evidence of this was the signature precision of Devil No. 1 singles player Cat Paw U being mirrored by Gregori’s Lorel Rodriguez. Paw U’s usual cool demeanor was replaced by a fiery style, especially after she dropped the first set 6-2.
Paw U lunged at the ball with particular ferocity in the second set, and capitalized on solid footing during the rare times she was able to stay in one place. She won the second set, 6-4, and carried that momentum into a match-winning tiebreaker (10-4).
Just across the way at the local tennis complex, thunderous claps emanated from racket of Karrigan Cook, the Jaguars’ No. 3 singles player, who was powering her way to a win over Davis’ Angela Donahue (6-2, 6-1).
And in No. 2 singles, Kailynn Yang had a similarly vigorous Gregori opponent to face off against. Eventually, the Blue Devil lost 6-2, 6-3 in a further testament to the strength of the Jaguars’ singles players.
However, the news that Blue Devil coach Sally Hosley soon received from the northernmost courts was all good.
Each of the DHS doubles teams reported victories: Megan Ewens and Angela Fleming (6-2, 6-0) at No. 1, Cat Archer and Katherine Murdoch (6-1, 6-4) at No. 2 and Sherry Zheng and Elena Neale-Sacks (6-1, 6-0) at No. 3.
“Doubles did what they do best — playing smart and tough,” Hosley said. “And I was overall proud of the singles too, considering that we won four out of six of our matches against a team with really strong singles girls.”
As Hosley alluded to, there were a trio of Devil performances worth honoring in the remaining three singles matches.
Davis No. 4 Lauren Duan controlled the pace throughout her match on Monday, often dragging her Gregori adversary across the court with her hits. Duan actually was the first singles player to emerge with a win (6-2, 6-1).
And other tactical battles were being fought by her Blue Devil allies in adjacent courts, where No. 5 Marlena Angermann (6-4, 6-0) and No. 6 Jenna Mould (6-3, 6-1) both notched local victories.
Hosley expressed hope that Monday’s performances demonstrated DHS’ potential to advance to the section finals. The feat will require the locals to go to Del Oro High and defeat the Eagles in a Tuesday semifinal match set for 2 p.m. The two teams split matches in the regular season.
“We beat them once and they beat us once,” Hosley said. “And we’re improved since our last meeting. I have full confidence in our ability. If we’re afraid, if we don’t believe that we can do it as a team, then we’ve already lost.”
— Reach Brett Johnson at email@example.com or 530-747-8052. Follow him on Twitter at @ReporterBrett