Gonzales Spartans tennis boys
Gonzales High School boys’ tennis team is the co-champion of the PCAL Mission Division. Standing with Coach Cesar Ayon (far left), this year’s players are: (back row, from left) Ricardo Perez, Jonathan Mata, Maximo Amador, Baltazar Nunez, Marco Alvarez, Henry Aldaco and Diego Valladares; and (front row, from left) Damian Landeros, Zander Melgoza, Angel Tinoco, Francisco Ruiz, Anthony Grado, Edgar Teodoro and Bryan Guerrero. (Margie Daniels)

GONZALES — A home loss to Oakwood cost the Gonzales High boys’ tennis team a shot at an outright division championship last Tuesday.

The 4-3 setback against the Oaks gave Gonzales one last chance to win a Mission Division co-championship, which they locked up the following day with a nail-biting 4-3 win over host Hollister.

In the loss to Oakwood, the Oaks won all four singles matches to become the league’s co-champs, while the Spartans won the three doubles matches. Against the Hollister Haybalers, Zander Melgoza won in singles for Gonzales, and the Spartans once again swept the doubles matches, earning the co-champion title for the 2023-24 season.

“Although we had a good league record, only losing once, the biggest compliment from other coaches was not about the ability of our players or good results on the court, but more importantly to me, was the sportsmanship that Gonzales shows,” said Spartans head coach Cesar Ayon. “Throughout my over 10 years coaching boys’ tennis, this is the most talented group of 14 players we have ever had. We are a strong team from our No. 1 player to our No. 10 player. This year we dominated in doubles, not losing a single doubles match against all 12 of our opponents.”

The No. 1 doubles team of Jonathan Mata and Baltazar Nunez and No. 2 doubles team of Henry Aldaco and Bryan Guerrero had perfect 12-0 records.

Ayon was also pleased with his single players on his team that, along with the doubles teams, gave the Gonzales team depth.

“Zander Melgoza led us with 10 singles wins as our No. 2 singles player and our No. 1 player Marco Alvarez had seven wins,” Ayon said. “Both Anthony Grado at No. 3 singles and Diego Valadares at No. 4 singles had eight wins apiece. Our depth earned us 76 points with only 16 points against.”

As the Mission Division co-champion, the Spartans began play in the Pacific Coast Athletic League Tournament on Tuesday. The three-day tournament features individuals and doubles teams, who can earn their way to the Central Coast Section playoffs.

“We play the tournament on Tuesday and Wednesday at Hollister,” Ayon said. “Our No. 1 and No. 2 doubles are seeded. My No. 1 singles is seeded as well. We should make the final with our No. 2 doubles and No. 2 singles.”

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