Delta boys tennis coach Tim Cleland considers this to be his best team in seven or eight years.
That is a bold statement considering the Eagles won 17 regional titles in the previous 18 seasons, but this current group certainly lived up to that billing Tuesday.
No. 8 Delta disposed of Winchester 5-0 Tuesday in the semifinals of the Marion Regional. The Eagles won all five matches in straight sets and dropped only nine games total.
“We have a veteran team, long season, there’s no worries about letdowns,” Cleland said. “It’s tournament time. Everybody knows they have to be on top of their game.”
The Eagles (22-1) held a significant talent advantage over their Winchester counterparts, but Cleland noted that Alec St. John (No. 1 singles) and Bradley Wuthrich (No. 2 singles) each beat formidable opponents in Dustin Detro and Avery Walker.
“Their top two guys are good, solid players that have played a decent amount of tennis, so Alec and Bradley had to work at it,” Cleland said.
Delta advanced to play No. 25 Marion at 4:30 p.m. today for the regional title.
The Giants halted a streak of 16 consecutive Delta regional titles in 2011. The Eagles returned the favor by eliminating Marion last season.
“It’ll be a very good match, because we match up pretty good in spots,” Cleland said. “We’re a little favored at doubles, so from our perspective, we’d like to come out and play strong in doubles and get out to a good lead and see where they take us.”