“Everyone played their hardest and tried their best to be aggressive,” said coach Ed DeFrancia.
Although only one Red Devil player advanced to the second round of competition in the tournament, the doubles teams and singles players competed at their highest level, and came home satisfied with their performance for the 2014 season, DeFrancia said.
All of the Red Devils’ first-round opponents went on to play in or win the state championship match in their respective categories.
“We were playing great competition,” DeFrancia said. “It was the best tennis we’ve seen all year.”
Elijah Stock, Grand’s No. 1 singles player, put in a strong performance throughout the tournament, according to DeFrancia. Stock’s first-round match against Summit Academy started out slow, primarily due to weather. After a 20-minute rain delay during the first set, Stock was able to gain momentum and focus. Stock went on to win the first set 7-6 in a tiebreak, and took the second set by the score of 6-2.
“Elijah has very steady, solid play,” said DeFrancia. “He was as aggressive as he needed to be and was in control.”
Stock was paired against Waterford in his second match of the tournament. Stock’s opponent in that contest was the same opponent he played in the second round of state competition during the 2013 season, however, both players competed in the No. 1 rather than No. 2 singles bracket at this year’s tournament. Both players played excellent tennis, but in the end, Waterford came out victorious in two sets, 6-0, 6-1.
The No. 2 singles player for the Red Devils, junior Alec Tatton, played Waterford as well. Tatton lost his matche 6-1, 6-2 and his competitor later went on to win the 2014 2A state championship in the No. 2 singles bracket.
The Red Devils’ No. 1 doubles team of sophomore Tommy DeWitt and Mack Sherrill played Manti in their first-round match, losing in two sets, 6-2, 6-0. DeWitt was substituted for Josh Lawley in the tournament.
No. 2 doubles players Derek Johnson and Dallin Porter lost to Waterford in two sets, 6-0, 6-1. DeFrancia said the team took chances and went for every ball, and the match helped them hone their skills for the 2015 season.
After their matches, the Red Devils tennis players were able to stay and observe both of the 2A final matches and some 3A competition, said DeFrancia.
“Usually teams are in a hurry to get home, but everyone wanted to stay for finals,” said DeFrancia.
The Red Devils finished in seventh place out of 12 teams at the 2A state tournament.
DeFrancia said he believes the GCHS boys tennis team will be even stronger in the 2015 season.
“Everyone is excited for next year,” he said. “We will have all our players back.”
The Red Devils will begin official practices for their 2015 season next spring.