Tennis Doubles Down, Takes District Title in Dramatic Fashion
Jesuit’s tennis team was on the ropes midway through Thursday’s showdown with the undefeated Brother Martin Crusaders, but the Jays rallied from a 3-1 deficit after singles play to sweep the doubles competition, taking a 4-3 win and the district championship in the process.
Senior Trey Hamlin, who was injured and watched helplessly from the sidelines in December when the Crusaders drubbed the Jays in a non-district contest, played his best tennis of the year in leading Jesuit to the win.
Hamlin was first off the court in singles play, picking up an 8-5 win on Line 3 to give Jesuit a 1-0 lead. Any hopes of building on that early momentum quickly faded as seniors Jack Steib and Graham Buck both dropped 8-4 decisions on Lines 1 and 2, respectively.
On Line 4, with vocal crowds for each school cheering every point, junior Andrew Ryan battled back from a 7-5 deficit before ultimately dropping a 9-7 decision.
That left Jesuit entering the doubles competition needing a sweep.
On Line 2, Buck and freshman Jojo Sandoz made quick work of their opponents, taking an 8-1 decision and breathing life into their teammates and the crowd. Ten minutes later, Ryan and junior Christian Lacoste finished off their opponents on Line 3 by a score of 8-4.
That left all eyes on Line 1, where Hamlin and Steib were battling a Brother Martin team anchored by junior Ben Chanes, last year’s defending regional singles champion. With Jesuit leading 4-3 and both teams on serve, the Jays made their move. Down love-forty, Steib and Hamlin rattled off five consecutive points to break serve and go up 5-3. With the momentum on their side, the duo closed out the match by a score of 8-4.
“How about Trey Hamlin?” said coach Travis Smith. “First with the critical singles win to keep us alive, and then in doubles he just took over at the end of that match. That’s the best he’s played since his injury.
“I’m just so proud of all our guys,” Smith continued. “That’s a tough Brother Martin team we beat today. Andrew, Graham, and Jack all had to bounce back immediately from potentially demoralizing singles losses. Jojo played through an injury. And Christian came through in a pressure-packed situation.”
With the regular season wrapped up, Jesuit will spend the next week preparing for regional competition on April 18 and 19 at the City Park/Pepsi Tennis Center.