By Lev Farris Goldenberg,
What’s the only thing better than beating your biggest division rival by a single match? Beating your biggest division rival by a match won by your No. 6 singles player, playing in his first big league match.
The Davis High men’s varsity tennis team edged out Jesuit 5-4 in a thrilling victory on Tuesday afternoon. With eight matches complete and the two schools knotted in a 4-4 tie, sophomore Eddie Zhu pulled off the comeback and beat Jesuit’s Deen Babb in three sets to give Davis the win.
Zhu lost the first set, 2-6. His opponent was beating him down with perfectly placed, powerful hits. With Zhu’s smaller frame and slower serve, he was falling behind. But he played smart, letting Babb tire himself out, and Zhu squeaked out a win in the second set, 7-5.
Davis coach Dale Hersch knew Jesuit’s No. 6 couldn’t last the whole game going all out.
“I mean he’s just hitting great shots everywhere and sure enough, Zhu barely won the second set, and then just went through him. I was so proud of him,” Hersch said.
Both teams had trickled over to the No. 6 singles court to cheer their teammate on. Zhu went up 5-4 in the final set. Up 40-love, Zhu sent his opponent lunging for the ball and sending it high and past the baseline.
The entire Davis team erupted with noise and engulfed Zhu. One player carried Zhu around on his back, running around the court victoriously.
The rest of the Davis team came out to play as well. The No. 1 and No. 2 doubles teams dominated their Jesuit counterparts. Senior Roland Li and sophomore Lingan Benin won their match with 6-0 and 6-2 set wins. Senior Jeffrey Yin and freshman Brian Liu also dominated Jesuit, winning their two sets 6-1 and 6-0.
The No. 3 doubles pulled it out as well, with junior Will Alpers and sophomore Danny Honeychurch winning two nail biting sets, 7-6 and 6-4.
The only other Davis singles player to pick up a win besides Zhu was No. 3 senior Yoshi Wainwright, winning both sets 6-3.
No. 2 singles player junior Young Shim battled Jesuit’s Stephen Morley. After a dispute over the score of the second set, Morley snuck out the victory with a 7-6 second set.
In the fiercely contended No. 1 singles game, Jesuit’s Jonah Tran defeated Davis senior Jasper Murphy 6-4 in both sets.
It was a stunning win for Davis, who has played Jesuit in the section championship all but two out of the last 14 years.
“To be honest, I didn’t think halfway through that we were gonna pull it out, and we did and I’m just real happy for the guys,” Hersch said.
Jesuit mostly dominated the singles matches, with Davis’ doubles teams keeping it close until Zhu handed Davis the win.
“You wanna play the best teams in the area so it’s definitely a rivalry and it’s a great one,” Hersch said.