The Jaguars are 8-0 in Valley Oak League play and got there with decisive wins in just about every match.
On the way, the team’s top five singles players have gone undefeated in individual league matches, and as of Thursday, March 28, three had yet to lose a single set.
In his six VOL matches, Kimball No. 1 singles player junior Logan Staggs has won five in straight 6-0, 6-0 matches. The only blemish was a 6-0, 6-2 win on Feb. 26 against Manteca’s Mike Lopez, the 2012 Valley Oak League singles runner-up.
Staggs, who is ranked fourth among 16-year-old players in the nation by the U.S. Tennis Association, said the whole team has a winning attitude.
“People want to win more and will work harder,” Staggs said. “I think they improved their game all over. Their footwork has gotten better, and their strokes are more solid.”
In the two matches Staggs couldn’t play because of his USTA schedule, No. 2 singles player freshman Garrett Chun has stepped into the No. 1 spot and won both of those matches 6-0, 6-0.
Chun has won all eight of his VOL matches in straight sets. He credits the team’s success to upperclassmen helping new players adapt to the high school season.
“We’re always trying to make sure our team is pretty well-balanced,” Chun said. “If one of us can’t make it, we still have a good shot.”
Sophomore Nick Reilly, the team’s No. 5 singles player, has also won all eight of his matches in straight sets.
No. 3 Mark Dalupan, a junior, and No. 4 Ivan Acosta, a freshman, are also undefeated after eight matches. Dalupan was once forced to play a third set, and Acosta has twice been pushed to three sets.
League team matches include six singles and three doubles matches. Kimball’s only close call so far was the March 12 contest at Weston Ranch, which the Jaguars won 5-4 by winning five of the six singles matches, with Weston Ranch winning all three doubles matches.
Kimball coach Danette McDaniel said most of the team’s top singles players, including Chun, Dalupan, Acosta and Reilley, were active in USTA play before joining the school team.
“It’s a good mix of kids who have had private lessons and training on their own,” McDaniel said. “These other kids that come out and have not played the game … have worked with me to get better.”
Acosta added that those new to competitive tennis have improved quickly.
“Some of them started this year and area already up there in the ranks,” Acosta said. “They’re not only good at tennis. They’re like a family.”
Seniors Troy Mathew and Baye Kuumba also play singles.
Seniors Ingel Salgarino and Amit Sandhu, junior Arman Banghu, sophomores Kshitij Shah, Blake Howerton, Paul de Supinski and Nick Nguyen and freshmen Joshua Linsangan and Bert Yu are the doubles players.
Reilly said that seeing the entire team improve each week will give everyone the confidence they need once playoffs begin in late April.
“I think it’s going to be a great experience for everybody,” Reilly said, “especially those that don’t play the competitive (USTA) tournaments.”
• Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or email@example.com.