By Tarin McMorrow & Judy Park,
Both of the Davis High men’s tennis team’s home matches this week–March 8 vs. Rio Americano and March 9 vs. Franklin–were canceled due to the rainy weather and subsequent slippery footing, allowing the team to get in plenty of practice.
Junior Jasper Murphy’s Tuesday game was called partway through.
“It was a solid game; we played pretty well but we never actually finished because we got rained out,” he said. “The guy I was playing didn’t want to slip and hurt himself because he’s already injured.”
Junior Yoshi Wainwright saw the practice time as a chance to try out new things on the court.
“I thought it was a really good opportunity to practice shots I’ve been working on for a while that I haven’t been hitting as well,” he explained.
Although the varsity team lost its top three players to graduation, expectations remain high.
“It’s the worst, those are the leaders of the team,” Wainwright said of his teammates’ departures. “It’s like if you’re living at home and your mom and dad just leave and some of older kids just have to become the mom and dad now. But we’re already getting there, our team’s solid.”
The team says most of its games will be against Bay Area teams, who are more evenly-matched with the Blue Devils.
“Our section in general is not very strong,” head coach Dale Hersch explained. “We’ve been in the finals for 13 straight years and except for Jesuit, the matches are pretty lopsided. But there are certainly plenty of good teams in the Bay Area and around California, but you just can’t play them all the time.”
The Blue Devils are on a hot streak. Following their exciting 7-2 victory over Delta League-rival Jesuit, the team had a good showing in the Fresno All-State tournament last weekend.
“The season is looking really good, I’m really impressed,” Hersch said enthusiastically. “We’re so deep and we had some players really improve over the summer; everything’s going great.”
After a match has concluded, the team proceeds to play a short-court game that they call “Butts Up.” It is a game of touch shots and whoever misses a shot loses a point; whoever loses the game itself is served at by his teammates (shown in the above video at the 1:50 mark).
“You either play until you lose three points [and] you get hit once, or five points and you get hit twice and you have to sit on the ground and the guy serves at your butt,” Wainwright said.