The Gators took three losses into the CCS tournament in 2008, captured the section crown and advanced to the NorCal tournament that concluded May 17 at UC Davis with Sacred Heart Prep capturing the title with a 7-0 triumph over Monte Vista (Danville).
The Gators finished off a 27-3 season by sweeping through the NorCal event. SHP opened with a 7-0 romp over outmanned Pleasant Valley (Chico), won a legitimate hard-fought 5-2 match with Jesuit (Sacramento), and then topped a Monte Vista team that was missing its No. 1 player.
Speaking of missing, the entire Saratoga team did not compete in the NorCal tournament. The Falcons qualified as the No. 2 entry from the CCS after falling to Sacred Heart in the section finals, 5-2. However, a number of Saratoga players had already committed to a USTA junior event, leaving their team shorthanded.
While Saratoga's absence certainly made Sacred Heart's title-winning easier, the Gators were on a mission this season and achieved it by winning CCS and NorCal crowns.
"If we had lost in NorCals, it would have been disappointing -- knowing how much we had to work to get there," said Jeff Arons, director of tennis at Sacred Heart Prep.
Sacred Heart seniors Erik Blumenkranz, Jamie Hutter and Billy McCall went a combined 8-1 during the three matches, with only Hutter dropping a 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 match at No. 2 singles against Jesuit.
Perfect throughout the weekend were the SHP doubles teams of John Hansen/John Parsons at No. 1, Mark Westerfield-Mario Paganini at No. 2 and Kyle Scherba/Pedro Robinson at No. 3.