Title time at Jefferson


The Mirror

They did it the way you’re supposed to do it.

The Thomas Jefferson boys tennis team claimed their second consecutive South Puget Sound League South Division championship by hanging a 5-0 shutout on the Curtis Vikings Wednesday afternoon in University Place. The Vikings have been one of the better tennis programs in the state for a long time and were the last team in the South, not named Jefferson, to win the league title. The Raiders have won five of the last six.

“It was just a great way to finish it off with a shutout,” said TJ coach Andrew Buchan. “It’s always fun to beat Curtis.”

The win over Curtis moved Jefferson to 13-1 on the season and was the 12th victory in a row after starting the season 1-1 with a loss to rival Decatur.

“It’s been a good year for these guys,” Buchan said. “We were expected to do pretty well because we basically had everyone back from last year’s team. But expectations can be thwarted by a team like Decatur. We just kept going (after the loss) and got on a roll. The kids started believing.”

The 12-straight wins included avenging the loss to Decatur. The Gators finished up second in the South with a 12-2 record. Decatur also was beaten by Puyallup, 3-2, after having to forfeit a singles match.

“We have played pretty well,” said TJ senior Zach Bunting. “We have a real strong team.”

Against Curtis, Bunting and doubles partner Shane Odenwalder improved to 10-0 on the year with a 6-4, 6-1 win at No. 2. The victory moved Bunting’s record in two years of varsity play at TJ to 27-0.

Jefferson also got wins from Kenny Fritschy at No. 1 singles, 6-0, 6-1, Chris Yoon at No. 2 singles, 6-1, 6-2, Jewel Sharpe and John Poore at No. 1 doubles, 6-4, 6-4, and Colin Okazaki and Matt Davidson, 3-6, 7-6, 7-6.

Up next for the Raiders and the rest of the league will be the SPSL South Tournament, which is set to kick off today at Auburn High School — weather permitting. The tournament will continue Monday and Tuesday and crossover matches with the SPSL North will be played at Auburn Riverside Tuesday. The top-seven placers, in both doubles’ and singles’ action, in the 19-team SPSL advance to the West Central/Southwest District Tournament in the spring.

“I’ve got a few entries who have a shot,” Buchan said.

The Raiders assured themselves at least a share of the South title Monday with their 11th straight win

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