FAIRFIELD — Even with a lineup loaded with freshmen and sophomores, the Armijo High boys tennis team is more than just happy to be in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs.
The Indians earned a not-as-close-as-the-score-indicates 5-4 victory over Rocklin in first-round play, Tuesday, winning five of the first six matches completed, four in straight sets. All four of their losses went the distance.
Armijo (20-1) advances to play Central California Conference champion Turlock, an 8-1 winner over Tokay of Lodi, in Monday’s quarterfinals.
“With such a young team, to get a win over a quality program like Rocklin is special,” Indians coach Greg Davis said. “I couldn’t be happier for the players on the team. I’m really, really proud of them for their work in the classroom and on the court.”
There was plenty to be proud of in singles as the Indians won four of the six matches in that department, dropping just a combined three games in three of them.
Andrew Saghir topped Ben Bardet 6-0, 6-1 at No. 3, Sean Dolan downed Soyer Milam 6-0, 6-1 at No. 4 and Liem Nguyen defeated Cameron Hanegan 6-0, 6-1 at No. 5.
The other singles victory, and the one that clinched the team triumph, was A.J. Freeman’s 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 win over Jake Schmidt at No. 2.
Saghir, a freshman, was surprised his match went so quickly. When it was over he looked around and saw nearly every other match still going.
“It’s a playoff match,” he said, “so I didn’t expect it (to go so fast).”
The key to Freeman coming back to get his win was “just persevering, just not giving up,” said Freeman, a freshman. “Being consistent and not missing.”
Armijo’s lone doubles victory was earned by Jose Gagilione and Matt Sek at No. 2, where they topped Matt Carter and Max Prince, 6-4, 7-5.
Falling for the Indians were Derek Wadsworth at No. 1 singles, 3-6, 7-6 (4), 10-4, Erik San Miguel at No. 6, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, the No. 1 doubles team of Joe Caspers and Leng Vue, 6-3, 6-7, 6-3 and the No. 3 team of Christian Navasca and Gabe Zan, 6-4, 5-7, 7-6.
“Even the matches we lost we didn’t give up,” Davis said. “That’s all you can ask for. They were all really, really close. It was a good win for us.”
Reach Paul Farmer at 425-4646, ext. 264, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pfarmerdr.