During their four years of varsity tennis, Arroyo Grande High senior tennis players Eli Whittle and Sean Hollister have played on a team that has not lost a PAC 7 league match.
The dominating singles players swept their matches again Monday against San Luis Obispo — their closest competition in league — and continued their streak as their league season nears the end.
Arroyo Grande (16-5, 10-0) won the match 12-6 and got the upper hand against a Tigers team that came within a few games of winning its first matchup earlier this season.
Whittle won his three matches 6-1, 6-1, 6-1, and Hollister won 6-0, 6-4, 6-1, beating Mason Hansen in a hard-fought second-set battle.
“This being our fourth year of winning in league, to get this one against a good team is really special,” Hollister said. “In the match against Mason, it was a battle in the beginning. I just didn’t want to go for too much and really just compete and run a lot. That’s my game.”
Eagles coach Lori Hollister said she was especially pleased with her doubles teams that got some wins they weren’t able to get in the last match.
Cole Laughton and Brandon Lippold had one of the most tense matches of the contest, winning 7-5 against Brandon Lippold and Cole Stephenson after trailing 4-3.
Players and parents from both teams gathered to watch the final points as it was the last match of the first round.
“I think that match really set the tone for us early,” Lori Hollister said. “San Luis Obispo always gives us a tough fight, and to get more of those doubles matches was really key today.”
The Eagles swept the nine singles, and the Tigers won the doubles 6-3.
For Whittle, who showed his frustration by letting a racket fly at one point, a 6-1 sweep wasn’t his best day of tennis, but he was able to smile after his second set.
“I had a big lunch, and my stomach is bothering me today,” Whittle said. “But this is the most fun league match of the season, and as a team, I think we’re peaking right now. It’s the right time for that going into CIF.”
Whittle said he has narrowed his college choices to Brown and UCLA and plans to play tennis at either one he chooses.
For the Tigers, perhaps next year will be their year to unseat the Eagles with some strong underclassmen on the team.
The No. 2 doubles squad of Luke Iunker and Noah Cleere won 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 to help the Tigers’ cause.
“We brought our intensity today,” Cleere said. “It’s not a one-man show, and we just try to play as consistently as a team as we can.”
Tigers coach Ken Peet said the score could have been a lot closer, but his team didn’t get the matches he’d hoped for.
“We kind of needed a few of those that we just didn’t get,” Peet said. “But I’m proud of the team and how they played today. We were just a few games off.”