Vista tennis team reaches section championship match

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It took four long years, but Vista del Lago senior Joewe Low finally has his first team playoff win.

The Eagles (13-4), top seed in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV boys’ tennis playoffs, advanced to the championship match by beating visiting Livingston 8-1 on Tuesday. Vista del Lago plays seventh-seeded Central Catholic-Modesto on Thursday for the section title.

Low missed last week’s playoff opener to attend an long-planned orchestra trip in Los Angeles, when the Eagles won their first playoff match in the school’s boys’ tennis history. Not that Low hadn’t done his part before. As the team’s top player as a sophomore, he beat Valley’s No. 1 in a 7-2 team loss, and last year beat Benicia’s No. 3 player in a 5-4 team loss.

Tuesday, Low pushed his personal playoff record to 3-0, contributing to the Eagles’ victory by beating Luis Muniz 6-2, 6-3 at No. 4 singles.

“Joewe has been rock solid for this team his entire four-year career,” Vista del Lago coach Marc Erwin said. “I’m so thankful he’s ending his prep career on a high note – and I’m not talking about the orchestra.”

Low has moved all over the ladder during his Vista career. He played No. 2 and No. 3 as a freshman before ascending to No. 1 as a sophomore. With the infusion of young talent the Eagles have had the past two years, he has played No. 3 and No. 4.

Another Vista senior finished his career Tuesday. Lawrence Wong, a three-year starter for the Eagles, won at No. 3 doubles with fellow senior Yutaka Ozeki, 6-1, 6-4 over Harpreet Dosanjh and Harpreet Singh. Wong will miss the title match because he’s already taking college courses and has a testing conflict.

“Lawrence actually wanted to skip the entire week because he has three AP tests and college finals, but I begged him to play one last time to help us get to the title match,” Erwin said. “He’s one of the smartest kids I’ve ever been around, and he’s going to do great things in life. We’ll miss him Thursday, but it’s just a match. His education is the top priority.”

Meanwhile, the Vista underclassmen continued to lead the way. Sophomore No. 1 Ian Ng won a hard-fought match 6-3, 6-3, sophomore No. 2 Samyak Surti rolled 6-2, 6-0, and junior No. 5 Jack Taylor won 6-1, 6-4. Sophomore No. 6 Deeraj Gurram clinched the decisive fifth win for the Eagles 6-4, 6-2.

Now the boys’ team has the opportunity to match the girls’ feat in the fall and bring home their first section title. Regardless of the outcome, it has been an historic school year for the Eagles’ tennis program.

“We have a chance to do something special, something these guys will remember for the rest of their lives,” Erwin said. “I don’t know anything about Central Catholic other than they’ve beaten some pretty darn good teams to get here, so we’ll have our hands full. If we focus on ourselves and do what we need to do, I think we’ll be happy with the outcome.”