Bacharach, Eagles are soaring

Freshman a perfect fit at No. 1 as Del Oro awaits rematch with Granite Bay
By: Eric J. Gourley Journal Sports Writer
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LOOMIS — Brett Bacharach had the credentials to compete for the top singles spot on the Del Oro High boys tennis team this spring A freshman, Bacharach not only earned the honor but has been perfect in the role, keeping his Sierra Foothill League streak unblemished with another convincing win in the Golden Eagles’ 9-0 win over Nevada Union Tuesday. “I knew that I was going to be one of the better guys in the SFL, but I guess I didn’t think I’d be undefeated so far,” he said. Bacharach, who picked up his first racket at age four, landed the position vacated by Sean Kolar. “I wasn’t really sure what to expect because I didn’t know many of the guys on the team,” he said. “At the beginning I knew like two or three. I had no idea what it was going to be like.” The bonding began at an overnight tournament in Fresno in early March. Bacharach quickly won over his teammates with his humble attitude. “It is really tough for any No. 1 to come in as a freshman and establish himself respect-wise,” coach Jen Isaac said. “It’s easy to establish yourself as a tennis player, but for the guys to respect you is pretty huge. He took that challenge on amazingly for a freshman with a bunch of cantankerous guys. He was respectful. He played close balls. He did so many right things. He’s there at every practice. He doesn’t consider himself better than the team. “Because of it, the guys have taken him on. The guys have pride in him for being the No. 1 guy because he’s a hard worker. He’s not as strong as these other guys. He’s a little guy. It’s pretty amazing. This team’s pretty amazing.” Del Oro is as deep as it’s ever been, winning several of their SFL matches in shutout fashion. The Eagles’ No. 1 doubles team of Taylor Carrington and Nick Koop also remained undefeated in league play with their 6-2, 6-1 win Tuesday. Captains Carrington, Garret Dahlin, Matt Hanson and Andrew Milton “are setting the standard,” according to Isaac. “It just seems like this year we’ve got a really deep team,” Bacharach said. “Even all the guys at the bottom of the ladder are really great players.” Del Oro regularly plays 17 athletes on a roster that features 36 players, only four of whom are seniors. “What’s really nice is now that we have depth, if somebody has to go to a doctor’s appointment or they’re hurt or have homework to do, it’s easy to plug one in,” Isaac said. “Somebody else is there and that keeps everybody hungry, because they don’t want to be the guy that has to leave. We’re really lucky that we have kids who are athletic and whose parents have played some tennis with them.” The Eagles’ only SFL loss came March 31 at juggernaut Granite Bay, a 5-4 loss to the Grizzlies who are undefeated at the top of the standings. “We had the opportunities and it just didn’t work out, but we have another chance at them,” Isaac added. That match next Thursday, the final one on the league schedule, will feature pomp and circumstance foreign to tennis. “These guys work so hard that they deserve to have notoriety and respect from everybody, so somebody’s going to come in and play the National Anthem,” Isaac said. “We’re going to have a DJ out for warm-ups. The spring sports have been supporting each other, so the track team and swim team are going to come out in the beginning. It’s going to be pretty big.” It will likely decide the league title and carries implications for the SFL singles tournament May 5. “These matches we’re playing right now can be boring sometimes but also a chance to work on some things,” said Carrington, who low-fives Koop after every point. “Granite Bay’s the one we all look forward to because that’s the big challenge in our league.” Added Koop, “It’s easy to overlook them, but we don’t. We want to go undefeated and we want to go into the league doubles tournament and do really well. We’re going to try to win everything we can, regardless of who we’re playing.” Carrington and Koop, who didn’t play tennis until their freshman years at Del Oro, teamed up earlier this season for the first time. “We both challenged for singles in the beginning but found out we could do better playing doubles together to guarantee a win just about every time,” Carrington said. “We’ve just improved over time.” The tandem has developed chemistry through their aggressive play at the net. “They’re the strongest doubles team that Del Oro has had,” Isaac said. “They can play doubles with any of my singles guys and beat them.” The Eagles fell to Oak Ridge in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II team playoffs last season. They’ve already beaten the Trojans last month. “We’re trying not to think too far ahead,” Isaac said. “We want to get through the season. Every team in the SFL is serious about winning and trying to make it to playoffs. If we ever discount anybody it could be the death of us so we don’t want to do that.”