After winning the Desert Valley League’s singles title against teammate Connor Rapp last month, Palm Desert High School junior said that this might be the best chance the Aztecs have had in awhile to win a California Interscholastic Federation title in boys’ tennis.
On Wednesday, it’ll be time to find if this is indeed the year for the Aztecs to take home the prize that has evaded them despite their enormous collective talent in recent years.
“This is a great draw for us,” Palm Desert head coach Brian Jacobs said. “We’re the fifth seed, and we’re just happy to be respected as one of the top teams.”
The Southern Section pairings for the team tennis championships were released Monday, and Palm Desert will surely have a challenge in the Division 1 bracket. The Aztecs (14-2) open the event against South Pasadena (8-6), the third-place team in the Rio Hondo League. The two will be among 32 teams vying for the title in arguably Southern California’s most difficult division.
Xavier Prep (6-8) will open up against San Marino (15-2), the top seed in the bracket, Palm Springs (14-4) will face powerhouse Corona del Mar (15-4), and La Quinta (10-8) will challenge Los Alamitos, the first-place team in the Sunset League.
In Division 5, Rancho Mirage, the top team in the De Anza League, will match up against Rim of the World (16-3). The Rattlers (14-2) won their league for the second consecutive time this year.
The second-place team in the league, Shadow Hills (11-4), will play against Rubidoux (17-3), the top team in the Mountain Valley League.
Twentynine Palms will face Serrano in a wildcard match on Tuesday.
Of the local teams playing, Palm Desert is the only to have previously won a CIF title in boys’ tennis. The last time it happened was 1996, with brothers Dann and Brian Battistone led the charge. The pair eventually went on to play professionally.
This year’s team has been compared to that group, but Jacobs has said the comparison will ring hollow if the Aztecs cannot run the table.
“We’re amped to win the whole thing this year,” he said.
Palm Desert will play at 2 p.m. at home. Rancho Mirage will also be at home, playing at 3 p.m. The second round will be held on Friday, the quarterfinals will be held Monday, May 16, the semifinals on Wednesday, May 18, and the finals on Friday, May 20.
The Aztecs are looking forward to a potential quarterfinals rematch with Peninsula, who narrowly knocked Palm Desert out of the playoffs last season.
The team tournament precedes the CIF individual championships, which will be held at a date to be determined later. Palm Desert secured all six of the DVL’s spots by virtue of having both of the top singles players and both of the top doubles teams in the league.