Nathan Mollat/Daily Journal
Isaac Wang, Aragon’s No. 2 singles player, hits a return during his 6-1, 6-0 win during the Dons’ 7-0 victory over Stevenson School in the first round of the CCS tournament.
Last year, the Stevenson School boys’ tennis team was 11-0, earned the No. 6 seed and advanced to the quarterfinals of the Central Coast Section tournament.
As such, the Aragon team figured it was in for a tough time against Stevenson — AKA Robert Louis Stevenson — as the Dons hosted the Pirates in the first round of the CCS tournament Wednesday.
Turns out last year was last year. This season, Stevenson is definitely in a rebuilding mode and the Dons took advantage, routing the Pirates 7-0 in a match that lasted under a hour and 15 minutes.
In talking with his Stevenson counterpart, Aragon coach Dave Owdom said he was told the Pirates lost nine players from last year’s squad.
“They were very good last year,” Owdom said. “They’ve been seeded in the past and they always have good teams.”
With the win, Aragon (14-6) will play No. 4 Bellarmine at 3 p.m. Friday at Bay Club in Santa Clara.
“I’m pretty shocked. I thought they were going to bring a lot of heat,” said Devon Hughes, Aragon’s No. 1 singles player, who dropped his first set, but was up 4-0 in the second when his opponent, Ryan Hayes, had to retire because of lingering knee tendinitis.
“I wasn’t sure we would win today.”
Turns out the Dons won handily. In seven matches, the Dons dropped a total of 14 games while winning 79, winning every match in straight sets.
Isaac Wang, Aragon’s No. 2 singles player, expected a much tougher match based on Stevenson’s reputation.
“We’ve heard of them, but we really didn’t know what was in store for us,” Wang said. “I thought it would be a lot harder. I was a little surprised.”
As much as the Pirates were down this season, posting just a 6-6 record, the Dons made them look much worse with one of their best performances of the season.
“My guys played very well,” Owdom said.
It started at No. 1 doubles, where Aragon’s Landers Ngrichemat and Alex Ilyin were the first players off the court with a 6-1, 6-0 victory. They were quickly followed by the No. 3 doubles team of Fabio Gallardo and William Miyahira, who won their match 6-0, 6-2.
After a choppy start in which his serve was broken in the third game, Wang went on to win 10 straight games to win his No. 2 singles match 6-1, 6-0.
“I just told myself to settle down,” Wang said. “Try not to beat myself.”
The Dons completed the sweep of the doubles match a few minutes later when the No. 2 team of Tony Wang and Sameer Jain walked off with a 6-1, 6-0 win for the team’s fourth point, which wrapped up the team win.
“Every time we sweep doubles, we have a good chance of winning,” Isaac Wang said.
Hughes had trouble with Hayes’ booming serve in the first set, as Hayes recorded a 6-3 win in the opener. Hughes adjusted in the second set, however.
“The basic thing I had to work on was changing my grip, which is something I usually don’t think about,” Hughes said. “It gave me an extra half second to adjust and get his serve back in play.”
Hughes jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second set and noticed there was something wrong with Hayes’ ability to move around the court.
“In the second set, he didn’t seem as mobile,” Hughes said. “It seemed like he was holding back.”
Stevenson coach Sevan Zenopian said Hayes has been hampered by a knee problem for the better part of two months, limiting the amount of time Hayes can actually play before the pain forces him to shut it down.
Jonathon Liu and Mathew Fowler rounded out the Aragon shutout, with Liu winning his No. 3 singles match 6-0, 6-2 and Fowler posting a 6-0, 6-1 victory.
The Dons will now take a big step up in competition as they face Bellarmine, which captured the West Catholic Athletic League title with a 14-0 record. Overall, the Bells are 18-3.
“Hopefully the momentum keeps going,” Owdom said. “Now, [we] get to play one of the big boys.”