Eagles clinch section title over Granite Bay

Doubles play spurs Del Oro?s first section title in three years
By: Justin A. Lawson Journal Sports Writer
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LOOMIS ? A section title fell on the shoulders of the doubles teams, the same Del Oro High boys tennis teams that didn?t win a match in their previous meeting with Granite Bay. But it didn?t take a motivational speech or the urging of the 200-deep crowd to pump up the Eagles. It was just the thought of hanging another Sac-Joaquin Section Division II banner for the graduating seniors. The Eagles needed to win two of the three doubles to clinch the title over their Sierra Foothill League rival and did just that as the No. 1 doubles team of Cyrus Mann and Mitch Pingree rallied back to seal the 5-4 win and the championship. ?You get the lead but it?s never over especially with Granite Bay,? Mann said. ?That team has made numerous comebacks. It didn?t make me feel anymore settled. We knew that every single point we had to win to bring home the sections.? The last time Del Oro won the section title was when the eight seniors were freshman. Like this year, they also beat Granite Bay for the league title. ?It was the perfect way to win sections going into high school and win it again leaving high school,? said senior and No. 1 singles player Brett Bacharach. ?I think that those two years in between that just made the section championship all that much sweeter this time around.? The Eagles will advance to the NorCal on May 18-19 at Natomas Racquet Club in Sacramento. The Eagles split the singles matches. Bacharach earned a straight-set 6-1, 6-2 victory over Zach Low. Senior Paul Villa rallied back from a 6-1 loss in the first set to win the second two 6-3 and 6-4. Senior Danny Silva had to hold off Brandon Kozlowski in a 6-3, 6-7, 6-7 (5), 6-2 marathon match. The doubles matches followed the singles and the No. 3 team of Alex Sznaider and Alexis Ezcura went to work against Brandt Misik and Allan Zheng with a 6-4, 6-0 victory that shifted all the attention to courts No. 3 and 4. Kyle Borges and Taylor Butterfield grabbed the first set 7-6, while Mann and Pingree dropped the first set 5-7. That?s when Mann and Pingree turned the intensity up and grabbed the second 6-4. With the title in sight, the duo didn?t leave anything to chance and jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the third. After Granite Bay got back within 5-1, Mann crushed two balls and watched the Grizzlies? return hit the middle of the net for match point. Mann dropped his racket as he swiveled around and was immediately swarmed by his teammates as Borges and Butterfield, who lost the third match 6-1, continued to play. ?Don?t choke,? Pingree said of his thoughts going into the third set. ?I really wanted to win that one.?