By Sam Adams
Mission League supremacy has reached the centennial mark for the Wolverinesâ boysâ tennis team, which was victorious in its 100th consecutive league match in a 15-3 victory over Notre Dame on April 21.
The team has already clinched a top seed going into the CIF playoffs in a year written off by many members of the team as a developmental season before a hopeful championship-winning season next year. The squad is adjusting to the post-Ryan Thacher â09 era, and coaches are making an effort to give underclassmen as much playing time as possible to grow young talent.
The streak started during the 2000-01 season, the first under varsity Head Coach Chris Simpson. The team has not lost a game in the league since he was named coach.
“This has been a great run,” Simpson said. “And what we need to do now is put our heads down and get another hundred.”
Team leaders agreed with Simpson.
“Itâs really sensational that we could finish a journey that started years ago,” team Captain Joey Friedrich â09 said.
Though the game was not at home, the victory was an experience.
“The fan base was not as large as it may have been if we were playing at home, but there was an absolute vibe to the event,” Simpson said.
Losses to regional powerhouses Santa Barbara, Palos Verdes and Peninsula in some of the teamâs biggest challenges of the season have left some members of the team disappointed, but optimistic for the future.
During what is considered preparatory season, the varsity squad is starting four freshman players in hopes of developing them into being key parts of a potential CIF champion team next year.
“We have a lot of talent this year, but I donât know that we have the star power to take a championship this season,” Friedrich said.
Jeffrey Bu â12, one of the freshman players, defeated Spencer Simon, the top-ranked high school player in the nation during the narrow loss to Santa Barbara.
Joining Bu as freshman class contributors are Jackson Frons â12, Jameson West â12 and Adam Schwartz â12.
The team got off to a rough start, losing its first official match of the season to Brentwood. Their next loss, to Peninsula, was attributed by Friedrich to a team crippled by injuries and players settling into their roles for the year.
A March win over Mira Costa in a thrilling 9-9 match marked the teamâs largest win to date this season.
After the Peninsula loss, the squad went on a 9-1 tear before falling to Santa Barbara in an away game last Wednesday.
The teamâs centennial achievement occurred only one year after another milestone, when the team completed their 100th consecutive victory in both league and non-league play.
League finals begin next Monday with individual league preliminary matches before the finals occur on the following Wednesday.