The Tracy High tennis team welcomes Modesto Metro Conference runner-up Beyer, 5-4 winners over Franklin of Elk Grove on Tuesday, to Tracy High for the second round of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs today at 2 p.m.
The Bulldogs will face the same conundrum West High saw Tuesday, playing a nine-game match format in the playoffs instead of the usual five-game format seen in league season. While the home team knows what’s coming, if the past is any indication — Tracy handed Turlock a 6-3 defeat before losing to eventual champion Jesuit in 2006 — there’s still no telling what could happen today.
“There’s definitely no guarantees, that’s for sure,” said Tracy coach Dean Reese, who’s had his doubles players preparing for singles and players far down the league ladder playing challenge matches ahead of today. “We’re doing the best we can to prepare for that format.”
The nine-game format means underclassmen Chris Pope, Jon Trinidad and Miguel Gonzalez, all doubles players, will join Neil Thakor, Quinn O’Brien and Daniel Durand at singles, and unheralded players will fill their spots in doubles, meaning everyone, save the latter three, have to change their style of play for the playoffs.
“Obviously, it’s a big change — we’re already a young team to start off with, now you’re putting young and inexperienced into the mix,” Thakor said. “We rushed a whole year’s worth of match play (for the doubles players) into a week.”
Thakor said the key today will be for the other normal singles players to earn wins in the top spots to settle any shaky nerves.