By Ryan Butler

Even after losing its four-time number-one player, the East Bay varsity tennis team has maintained a high level of competition. Featuring a squad made up entirely of sophomores and juniors, the Indians have played well in 2013 and boosted hopes for even better results in 2014.

“We’re having a good season. We have a great group of kids. We’re in a rebuilding year and looking forward to next year,” said head coach, Kevin Hughes.

Even in a “rebuilding” year, the Indians have been competitive. It finished the regular season 7-5, winning five of its last six matches and outscoring opponents 31-12 in the final half-dozen competitions.

The Indians entered the season without David Gaimpa, the team’s number-one player for the last four years. Junior Sam Carillo, also one of the school’s premier baseball players, stepped up to the number one spot this year. When baseball games conflicted with tennis, fellow junior Navarro Hooks, the team’s usual number two, filled in for the top spot. He began the season 11-0 and finished 12-1.

Sophomore Mark Bell, sophomore Cody Magolon, junior Jacob Mellinger and sophomore Jacob Anderson round out the rest of the Indians’ top six.

Needing to finish first or second to advance to the regional tournament, the Indians, with Giampa last year, finished a respectable third in District play. Heading into Districts this year, Hughes said he hoped to replicate the previous season’s success, but realistically understands the team could finish anywhere between third and fifth. The entire district will have to contend with powerful King and Chamberlain squads. Chamberlain, one of the best teams in the area, beat East Bay 7-0 during the teams’ regular-season match-up.

“At the end of the day anything can happen,” Hughes said.

Regardless of the 2013 district tournament outcome, the entirety of the young roster is expected to return next year. With one more year of experience behind them, and a talented roster to begin with, the Indians may be able to capture one of those coveted top spots in the 2014 District tournament.

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