Section Standouts: Doubles
PATRICK HULS AND MICHAEL SASSO
School: Clovis West
They're qualified because: The top-seeded team in doubles at the Central Section Individual Championship bounced back from a 7-6, 6-1 semifinal upset by Stockdale's John Matthew Flores and Matt Nisson to defeat Liberty-Bakersfield's Andrew Engel and Drew Raney 6-4, 6-4 for third place. Huls and Sasso advanced to the semifinals with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Monache's No. 16 Jason Alonzo/David Ivancovich and a 6-4, 6-2 quarterfinal triumph over Bakersfield Christian's No. 8 Nolan Schuler/Tanner Harris. The Golden Eagles duo made their case for the No. 1 seed by defeating Clovis East's Andy Vang and Omar Hernandez 6-4, 4-6, 9-7 in a 3-hour, 4-minute match for the Tri-River Athletic Conference title and then winning two matches at the North Area tournament. "Patrick is naturally a better mover than Michael when closing the net, but they complement each other really well," Clovis West coach Hank Bessinger said. "The placement of their serves makes them a good doubles team. They both were able to hit spots and locations and to change up spins and speeds. "
Team champions: Huls and Sasso helped deliver a fifth straight section Division I title to Clovis West, with Huls playing No. 2 singles and Sasso contributing primarily in doubles. Huls contributed a point to the top-seeded Golden Eagles' 5-4 victory over No. 2 Bullard with a 6-1, 2-6, 10-5 win over Nick Jaramishian. "It's an honor to be part of a team that's so close and so determined to keep the tradition going," Huls said. "We came together really well." The Golden Eagles represented the section in the first CIF Southern California Regional boys tournament, where they lost 7-1 against Harvard Westlake-Studio City. "We had our team chemistry working," Sasso said. "It was a blast making it to the (Regional)."
Seeds of success: Huls and Sasso have been best friends since the fourth grade, when both picked up rackets for the first time together. "We are really comfortable together," Sasso said. "We can basically predict the other's next move." They went 15-2 together as a doubles team this season. "We think alike," Huls said. "That's why we work well together." Huls, a first-team All-TRAC selection, went 21-7 in singles and 23-4 in doubles overall. Sasso was 3-0 in singles and 21-5 in doubles overall. Both are planning to play for Fresno City College next season.