With sophomore David Wang suffering a back injury in the opening set, it became a test of wills for him and junior Louis Pak as the duo represented the Davis High boys tennis team in the Delta Valley Conference doubles finals on Thursday.
And though the Blue Devil pair fought for a second-set victory, Monterey Trail’s Tommy Luu and Tuyen Ngo eventually took the league title with a 6-3, 1-6, 6-1 win at the Davis High Tennis Complex.
Despite the loss, Wang and Pak will join the Mustang duo — which is the defending section runner-up — at next week’s Sac-Joaquin Section Individual Championships.
“Very gutsy performance … (Wang) was in tons of pain,” said DHS coach Dale Hersch, who added that he was really happy the two players will get to experience their first section individual tournament.
“Just for them to take it three sets (was huge). (Luu and Ngo) play doubles a lot together but Louis and David are primarily singles players.”
On Wednesday, Luu and Ngo needed three sets to knock off the Devils’ No. 2 team of Jasper Murphy and Bob Li in the first round, while Wang and Pak had a bye.
The local No. 3 squad — freshman James Cole and junior Alex Chen — beat another MTHS duo in the first round, then got past Laguna Creek’s top team to set up an all-Davis semifinal match against Wang/Pak.
After winning that, Wang and Pak were back out Thursday, and feeling good before the injury. That forced them to work up a new strategy on the fly, and the plan worked — for a while.
“The trainer came out and was able to help him out a little bit, but he was super limited on his serve and his game,” Hersch explained of Wang. “But that happened in the first set and they still won the second set pretty easily.
“(Pak and Wang) are friends, they’ve been friends for a long time, so they were really communicating well. They talked, ‘Let’s try this, let’s do this.’ I just think, in the third set, Monterey Trail figured it out.”
Going forward, Hersch is hoping that Wang — his No. 6 singles player — can get healthy, as the Blue Devils start their quest for a 12th straight trip to the team section finals on Tuesday.
“Injuries are starting to mount up and I have to figure out a lineup,” said the veteran coach.
Notes: The SJS team tournament actually begins Monday, but the DVC champion Devils get a bye in the first round. DHS will host the winner of Golden Valley and Gregori at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday … Davis junior Dan Segedin won the Delta Valley singles championship on Wednesday.