All-Empire Tennis and Boys Player of the Year

Player of the Year
MATT HALLIGAN, Casa Grande, So.

The top North Bay junior boys tennis player moving up the ranks, Matt Halligan hit new heights this season to earn Empire Player of the Year.

Halligan didn’t lose a set in Sonoma County League matches on his way to taking the singles title. Casa Grande has gone undefeated in league play during Halligan’s two years with the Gauchos.

“I’ve always loved the competitiveness of the sport. I want to be at that top level,” he said.

Next in the prep ranks would be a North Coast Section title. Given a tough draw this season, Halligan lost his opening match to the eventual section champion and three-time winner of the tournament.

Improved shot making, footwork and conditioning are needed.

U.S Tennis Association tournaments and private coaching help push Halligan.

“Losses make me want to be better,” Halligan said.

A strong serve and volley game as his foundation, Halligan already is very good.

“He’s improved mentally. Now he has so much more confidence,” said Casa Grande coach Lisa Thornton.
Ten years after first picking up a racket, Halligan eyes his ultimate milestones.

“I want to hopefully play Division I in college and hopefully become a pro one day,” he said.

Marky Cantu, Ukiah, senior
Sean Hall, Sonoma Valley, sophomore
Tom Ou, Piner, senior
Noah Lee, Summerfield Waldorf, junior
Arthur Lai, Maria Carrillo, freshman

Bosten Larson, Healdsburg, senior
Connor Ruten, Maria Carrillo, junior
Jacob Gollub, Montgomery, sophomore
Matt Lancaster, Analy, sophomore
Moses Kuzu, Kelseyville, junior

Lisa Thornton, Casa Grande
Jason Beard, Maria Carrillo

— Michael Coit, The Press Democrat