The Gregori and Central Catholic boys tennis teams will play for section championships.
The third-seeded Jaguars continued their season-long dominance, upsetting No. 2 Laguna Creek behind a strong performance by its doubles teams.
The four-time Modesto Metro Conference champions swept doubles, clinching a berth in the Division II final against top-seeded Rio Americano on Thursday at the University of the Pacific. The match begins at 5 p.m.
“These kids deserve it with the hard work they put in,” coach Ethan Duewell said. “The kids are what I call ‘Court Rats.’ They love to play.”
The D-II final brings together two teams on opposite ends of history.
Rio Americano is the most decorated program in section history with 14 section titles, including 11 at the Division II level. Rio Americano has appeared in seven of the last nine D-II finals.
The Jaguars have long been the best public-school boys tennis program in Modesto, but this will be their first section final appearance.
“The seniors have been undefeated in conference all four years and decided our goal this year was to get past the second round,” Duewell said. “Happy to have done that.”
Doubles was the difference on Tuesday.
The tandems of Collin Soderstrom-Alex Jensen and Pratham Shah-Brandon Epperson earned straight-set victories, while the duo of Haruto Maejima-Akshay Chowdharry rallied for a three-set win.
Ethan Switzer, Thai Nguyen and Justin Lynch delivered singles victories for the Jaguars, now 16-0 on the season.
Duewell says there are no expectations for Thursday’s match. His instruction is simple and straight forward: “Just play hard and have fun.”
Central Catholic continued its Cinderella run through the Division IV tournament.
The seventh-seeded Raiders edged No. 3 Vanden in Tuesday’s semifinal with a gutsy, match-winning performance by doubles partners Adrian Cuevas and Moises Nunez.
Central Catholic’s No. 3 doubles teams won a three-set thriller with Vanden’s Justin Mikolajcik and Vinz Perez, 6-4, 5-7, 6-2, putting the Raiders in position for their first section title in 30 years.
The Raiders won back-to-back Division II titles in 1988-89.
“We had a great team effort and a great win for our tennis program against a very good and well-coached Vanden team,” coach Natalie Wagner said. “The boys are glad to be moving on to the section finals."
The Raiders will play top-seeded Vista del Lago in Thursday’s final at Laguna Creek High at 3:30 p.m.
Central Catholic received victories from its top singles players, Dane Juarez and John Dunn, and a victory from No. 4 Justin Traina. The tandem of Robert Wagner-Evan Consiglia also contributed a victory from the No. 2 doubles competition.
In coed team tennis, No. 3 Sonora took on top-seeded Placer in Wednesday's D-I final at Johnson Ranch Racquet Club in Roseville. No. 1 Riverbank battled No. 2 Colfax in the D-II final at the Oak Park Tennis Center.
Division II: (3) Gregori vs. (1) Rio Americano, Thursday, 5 p.m. at the University of the Pacific.
Division IV: (7) Central Catholic vs. (1) Vista del Lago, Thursday, 3:30 p.m. at Laguna Creek High School.