Casa Grande Seeks Second Straight SCL Boys Tennis Title

Posted By Press Democrat Staff Writer Michael Coit:

Going for an 18th straight Sonoma County League match win, Casa Grande could be the Empire’s top boys’ tennis team midway through another impressive season.

Led by singles ace Matt Halligan, the Gauchos should defend their league crown. Casa Grande also is taking on the regions’ best teams in hopes of earning a better seeding in the North Coast Section tournament than a year ago when the Gauchos were bounced in the first round.

“That’s what we’re shooting for. We’re good because we have so much depth,” said Casa Grande coach Lisa Thornton.

With a much larger roster compared with league opponents, Casa Grande has a competitive program that produces top singles and doubles players.  Halligan, with a strong serve and improved all around play, is favored to capture the singles title after finishing runner up last seasonTeammates Ken Woods and Kevin Phan are back near the top and could be the doubles favorites.

“Casa’s on another level than anybody else. There’s a lot of parity after that,” said Sonoma Valley coach Steve Somers.

Both the Dragons and Healdsburg are the best of the rest.

“We had anticipated giving Casa a run for their money,” said Healdsburg coach Christine Mooney. “We feel pretty confident of finishing second again this year.”

Sonoma Valley’s top singles player Sean Hall won last season’s league title. Healdsburg ace Bosten Larson could challenge to reach the singles final.

The league’s strongest number two singles players could play first at most schools: Stephen Montano, Sonoma Valley; John Bursick, Healdsburg; Woods, Casa Grande.

Dominant before Casa Grande’s recent run, Petaluma is improving. Analy is always competitive.

“The top half of the league is pretty strong,” said Windsor coach Xerxes Whitney.

Perhaps the only thing that could slow down Casa Grande is having to play three home matches at Petaluma High while the Gauchos courts are resurfaced. But Thornton doubts traveling across town will keep Casa Grande from extending its winning streak through season’s end.

“I didn’t know how my doubles was going to stand up. That’s the advantage that we have, we’re so deep,” she said.

SCL Boys Tennis Standings

Casa Grande 6-0

Sonoma Valley 4-2

Healdsburg 2-2

Petaluma 3-3

Analy 3-3

El Molino 0-4

Windsor 0-5