Aragon head tennis coach Dave Owdom knows proverbial mountains don’t come any higher than what his team is about to face.
“We’re one of the few teams that isn’t afraid to play Menlo School,” Owdom said. “We’re looking forward to playing them. We know they’re very talented. There aren’t many teams that want to play them, but that’s the hand that’s been dealt and I know they have great ability.”
But the Dons go into Friday’s second round matchup against the Knights in the Central Coast Section playoffs a confident bunch following an 11-7 first-round win over Sacred Heart Cathedral.
“We can just as tough mentality as them,” Owdom said. “I know my guys, and I’ll tell you, they’re going to fight for every point.”
Aragon beat the Irish in the first round without their No. 1 singles player Devon Hughes, who sat out because he was sick. But the rest of the Dons stepped up big time. No. 1 doubles team Matt Fowler and Landers Ngrichemat went 3-0 in their matches. Owdom said Aragon went into that matchup against SHC feeling confident as well.
“We told them we’ve played Sacred Heart Cathedral in the past,” he said, “and we’re usually pretty even. I thought our guys were a bit better than them. You have to think of every set you play like it’s a third set. You’re looking for points and you can’t say, ‘well, I’ll get two out of three,’ you have to get every set you can get. My guys got big points when they had to.”
Aragon’s PAL mates, Carlmont, picked up a calm 13-5 win over Evergreen Valley. They’ll travel to Stevenson for Round No. 2.
“We kept it close,” said Carlmont head coach Amina Doar Harsley recalling last year’s loss to the same school, “it wasn’t blow out until the end. So, we’re feeling well about how our players performed last year. I think our players are more prepared than they were last year but at the same time, we have a different lineup, they have a different lineup and stranger things have happened.”
There were few surprises on Wednesday as Carlmont jumped out to a 6-0 lead and never looked back.
“We have a very strong team and they played really well,” Doar Harsley said.
Another first round win was collected by Crystal Springs Uplands School over Monterey. Peninsula Athletic League champion Menlo-Atherton saw its season come to an end against St. Francis. Sacred Heart Prep fell to Gunn of Palo Alto.
Serra, the No. 3 seed, will host Piedmont Hills at the College of San Mateo in their first steps towards a CCS title.
“Everybody is loose and ready to go,” said Serra head coach Marcus Charles. “They’re all siked up. Everyone is calm. We don’t know anything about the opposing team and that’s the way we like it. They know all they do is go out there and play the ball. It’s all about the ball and not the person in front of them.
They know it’s their time. They feel it’s their time. And they’re going to take advantage of it.”