Addison Weil made sure there would be no delay to Clovis West High’s return to the top of the Central Section boys tennis heap.
Weil scored what many observers considered a 6-4, 2-6, (11-9) upset at No. 1 singles to secure match point in a rain-shortened 5-2 victory for the top-seeded Golden Eagles over No. 2 and defending champion Bullard on Thursday in the Division I final. Both teams are advancing to the CIF Southern California Regionals, which begin May 26.
The Knights topped Clovis West 6-3 for the championship last season, ending a five-year title run for the Golden Eagles.
Weil beat Bullard’s Viran Batth, who is the No. 3 seed in the section individual tournament, in a tiebreaker to render the doubles matches meaningless and set off a midmatch, midcourt celebration for Clovis West, which captured its section-leading 18th title. And it came in the nick of time as rain hit before two of the three doubles matches could be completed.
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Had Weil not defeated Batth, the match would have been postponed with the outcome still in doubt.
“I don’t think anyone on our team thought we’d win after singles, or even be up after singles,” Weil said. “We thought it would be 3-all, maybe even 2-4. So once we won four, we were already happy. This might have been the best we’ve played as a whole all season. I don’t remember everybody being on like this. We stepped up to the moment.”
Weil won the first set before Batth, who had beaten Weil handily last season, rebounded to take the second. By the time the tiebreaker started, all the other singles matches had ended. And with all the attention on court No. 1, Weil eventually pulled away 11-9.
“It was tough, but I felt like I had a pretty good chance going in actually,” Weil said. “I was ready to play him. I felt like the way he plays suited my style of play. I thought he would give me balls and give me a chance to go in and be aggressive.”
Sean Lindenau got the Golden Eagles (20-4) rolling with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Lincoln Hoppe at No. 3 singles for the first point of the match.
“When I won, it really got our energy rolling and we kept that energy moving,” Lindenau said. “We fed off each other’s energy. This is the first match almost all season where we really got our energy going. It helped that we had our fans out here. Having home field was really big for our team.”
Jacob Huls followed with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Neil Kevorkian at No. 5 before Bullard (20-3) cut the gap to 2-1 as Nick Jaramishian downed Robbie Ellis 6-0, 6-2 at No. 2.
Clovis West went up 3-1 as Taka Shin beat Coco Quiroz 6-2, 6-3 at No. 6, then Jacob Vander Beek won a key swing match by rallying from a 4-1 deficit in the first set to defeat Chandler Hosepian 6-4, 6-3 at No. 4 for a 4-1 advantage.
“It was all about redemption from last year,” Vander Beek said. “We were all fired up. Sean get the key win and then Addison. (Weil’s) was our biggest win of the season. Honestly, he’s the clutchest player on the team.”
Unlike a season ago, when Bullard won four singles matches to take control, Knights coach Daren Carter said his team came out tight and never recovered.
“It seemed like we were fighting from behind the whole time,” Carter said. “And you can’t beat a good team like that.”