|The Menlo School boys' tennis team completed a week perhaps unlike any other in school history by blasting away Bellarmine, 5-2, to win the 2007 Central Coast Section tennis tournament Friday at Courtside Tennis Club in Los Gatos.
The Knights (21-3) came into the tournament seeded third and received a huge boost to their title hopes when the No. 4 Bells (23-3) upset top-seeded and previously undefeated Sacred Heart Prep (26-1) in the semifinals, 4-3. The Gators came into the tourney regarded as the No. 1 team in the country.
With the heavily favored Gators out of the way, Menlo took full advantage and won its first section title since 2003 and its first combined tournament ever. Prior to 1998, there was only one CCS division. When the CCS went to two divisions in '98, Menlo began its streak of six consecutive titles.
By beating the Bells for the second time this season -- Menlo earned a 4-3 nonleague win on April 23 -- the Knights gave coach Bill Shine his seventh CCS title in his 11-year career at Menlo.
This week the Knights toppled Los Altos in the quarterfinals, 6-1, upended No. 2 Saratoga in the semifinals, 5-2, and handled Bellarmine in the finals.
"It was a week unlike any other, most definitely," Shine said.
Menlo now advances to the NorCal Championships set for May 18-19 at UC Davis. The Knights likely will be the top seed. Bellarmine also advances by virtue of reaching the CCS title match. It's likely the two teams could meet in that championship match, as well.
The Knights are certainly equipped to handle that challenge. On Friday, Bellarmine grabbed a 1-0 lead by taking the No. 1 doubles match from Menlo's David Castor and Eric Sum, 6-1, 6-4. Menlo evened the score when freshman Jamin Ball registered a key 6-1, 6-1 win over Bellarmine veteran Ronald Wu.
Senior Mark Keegan gave Menlo a 2-1 lead with a 6-4, 6-4 triumph at No. 3 singles, but Bellarmine made it 2-2 when Jack Mohr defeated Menlo's John Williford, 6-1, 6-1, at No. 4 singles.
Menlo sophomore Daniel Hoffman quickly put his team back into the lead with a 6-3, 6-0 thumping of Donald James. That left it up to the doubles, where Menlo's No. 3 tandem of sophomore Max Glenn and freshman Patrick Chase produced the clincher, 6-2, 1-6, 6-1.
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