The Wolf Pack (9-2, 6-0 Tri-City Athletic League) leads the league midway through the season, with the latest triumph a 9-0 win over the visiting Tokay Tigers (1-4 TCAL) on Tuesday, April 9.
Coach Christine Toon said the Wolf Pack’s players have taken a step forward after last year, when West finished the TCAL season in an unusual four-way tie for second place behind undefeated Edison.
Toon said the 2012 team of sophomores and freshman has benefitted from another year of experience.
“They all have good skills,” Toon said, “but they were inexperienced.”
The 2013 roster includes two seniors, eight juniors, three sophomores and two freshmen.
Junior Ahssan Khan, West’s No. 3 singles player, said the team’s advantage is the bond players built over the past two seasons.
“We have a lot of players who have been here since freshman year,” Khan said. “Because of that, we’ve all grown together as a team and that’s really made us strong.”
Khan said the camaraderie has helped him go undefeated in his matches this year.
“My teammates support me constantly,” he said, “giving me good advice and keeping me going.”
West’s No. 1 singles player, junior Jahan Viejh, added he and his teammates work hard.
“It’s all about commitment. We take our practice seriously, to get our shots down and really improve our game,” he said. “I was at the bottom of the ladder my freshman year and worked my way up, and have reached my goal.”
West’s Tuesday sweep over Tokay included a win by forfeit in the No. 1 singles, and a win in three sets 6-4, 6-7 (9), 10-5, for No. 2 singles player sophomore Alex Xu.
The other singles players triumphed in straight sets. Khan won his match 6-4, 6-1, senior Miguel Madruga won 6-3, 6-1, junior Peter Creasman won 6-0, 6-2, and junior Andrew Ly won 6-3, 6-1.
In the doubles, juniors Bob Lopez and Josh Theobald won 6-2, 5-7, 10-8, junior Artemio Marquez and senior Calvin Ly won 7-5, 6-0, and sophomores Bill Yang and Hadi Hussain won 6-1, 6-3.
The Wolf Pack needs to win its home match Thursday, April 11, against St. Mary’s to keep sole possession of first place and the top seed going into the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs. Results were not available as of press time Thursday.
Ly said the team’s match against St. Mary’s on March 19 taught him to overcome pressure and nerves. His 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Alex Estrella was the last match of the day, and decided the team match, 5-4 in West’s favor.
“I knew that I had to stay focused and keep my mind in the game,” Ly said. “Then I just played it out.”
After St. Mary’s, the Wolf Pack will play its last three league matches on the road, with Edison and Stagg on Tuesday, April 16, and Thursday, April 18, in Stockton, and Tokay on April 23 in Lodi.
Kimball 9, Lathrop 0
The Jaguars continue to dominate the Valley Oak League, most recently logging a 9-0 win over Lathrop on Wednesday, April 10, at Kimball High.
The Jaguars (13-0, 10-0 VOL) won five of the six singles matches in straight sets, with freshman Garrett Chun, junior Mark Dalupan and sophomore Nick Reilley all beating their opponents 6-0, 6-0.
It follows a 9-0 Tuesday, April 9, at Sierra High in Manteca. The Jaguars won all but one singles match in straight sets.
Senior Troy Matthew, playing in the No. 5 singles spot, played two close sets, 7-5, 6-7, and managed to win a tiebreaker that went to extra points, 14-12.
Lodi 6, Tracy 3
The Bulldogs started the second half of the San Joaquin Athletic Association season with a home loss to Lodi on Tuesday, April 9.
The Flames proved strong at the top of the ladder, winning the top five singles matches.
Wins for Tracy (3-3 SJAA) came in the No. 6 singles spot, with sophomore Rushi Arumalli winning 6-1, 6-0.
Tracy also won in the No. 1 and 3 doubles slots, as Ajay Cheema and Tommy Langley won their match 6-2, 6-2, and Matthew Nguyen and Daniel Sahuri won their match 6-3, 6-4.
• Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or email@example.com.