Clovis News: Sports

Clovis West downs Bears for boys tennis title

Clovis West achieved perfection in boys tennis with a second straight Central Section Division I championship.

The top-seeded Golden Eagles dominated No. 2 Buchanan 8-1 Tuesday to complete a 27-0 season -- matched only by the 1997 team's 31-0 record.

Seconds after senior left-hander Brice Austin clinched the program's 14th section title at No. 4 singles against Seth Poulsen, the Golden Eagles rushed onto the court in celebration.

Among the mass of bodies were the nine seniors who began the journey to perfection as freshmen in the summer of 2006.

"They all came to practice, hung together, helped each other out and today finished it," Golden Eagles coach Cris Petersen said.

Look up teamwork in the dictionary and there should be a photo of this Clovis West tennis team next to it. The Golden Eagles don't wow you with power. They overwhelmed opponents with skill, smarts, patience, the heart of a lion and talent throughout the lineup.

"We don't have any MVPs," Petersen said. "We don't give out awards at the end of the season, because everyone is worth one point in the whole match."

Clovis West swept the six singles matches against a Buchanan team making its first championship appearance. Finishing off the Bears (18-6) were seniors Austin and No. 5 Robin Shin in extended matches. Austin won 6-3, 1-6, 10-6 and Shin fought off four match points to beat Jason Gong 6-7 (3), 6-4, 13-11.

"We stay positive, play hard, tire out our opponent and wear them down," said senior Vincent Paganetti, Clovis West's captain and No. 1 singles player.

Petersen recalled the match that defined his team. The Golden Eagles trailed host Davis High 3-0 at a tournament this year and rallied to win the last four matches in third-set tie-breakers.

"That gave the team confidence to know if it needed to, they could reach back and do anything," he said.

Junior Stefan Loop began the rout at No. 2 singles, crushing Daniel Kwak 6-0, 6-0. Senior Ethan Kurtz downed Sam Daud 6-3, 6-1 at No. 2, then Paganetti beat a game Will Frye 6-2, 6-4. Sophomore Shervin Zoghi outlasted Zain Amro 6-4, 6-5 to set up Austin's clincher with all eyes watching.

"It was humbling to have everyone cheering me on," Austin said. "It helped me stay focused in the rallies and keep the balls in."

In doubles, Petersen sat the section's top teams -- Paganetti/Loop and Austin/Shin -- and let his remaining seniors Joyson Therampilly, Neal McAllister, Derek Beckman and Rami Born be part of history.