Boys tennis finishes undefeated season with NCS championship


Jeffrey Huang

Peter Stovell, left, flips his racket at College of Marin on May 9, 2023. Branson boys tennis finished the season undefeated, claiming MCAL and NCS titles.

By Herschel Pell

Branson boys tennis crowned its undefeated season on May 13 with a North Coast Section pennant, defeating University High School for a season record of 25-0.

The team made history with its 4-3 Division II victory against University, which it had lost to in sectionals the previous year.

“Ever since last year’s disappointing loss to University in the semis, we have been waiting for this moment when the team could finally lift the plaque,” said Ishwar Jayaraman, a sophomore.

In the championship match, University decided to “stack” its lineup. This meant that it placed stronger players in lower positions on the ladder to increase the chances of winning matches.

“The final match was interesting as University stacked their ladder,” Oliver Goldman said. “Despite this, we came out as the stronger team because we have a lot of talent at lower ladder spots.”

While the final score of 4-3 was close, Branson’s wins were by huge margins. The sophomore doubles duo of Leighton Fraser and Chase Hoeveler won their match 6-2, 6-2 in swift fashion. 

“They were a really tough team, but we knew we would stay in the match as long as we were focused and consistent,” Fraser said.

I’m super happy and honored to be a leader of this team.

— Peter Stovell

The Bulls’ starting lineup consisted of many of the same players as last year. During the off-season, many of them trained hard to make such an incredible comeback this year.

“It’s unbelievable that we had an undefeated season, but it’s all about the hard work we put in,” said Andrew Peng, a junior. He added that the team wants to do it again next year.

All 10 players in Branson’s starting lineup received all-MCAL honors at the end of the season. The team had defeated Redwood on April 20, winning its first MCAL title since 2001.

Peter Stovell, a senior, can rest easy knowing he helped cement his team’s place in history.

“I’m super happy and honored to be a leader of this team,” he said.

In particular, Redwood, the perennial MCAL contender, perhaps offered Branson’s biggest challenge. To defeat them — especially at the MCAL title game — meant a lot for Stovell.

“In the past, they’ve been super dominant,” he added. “It was really nice to win this year. And I think I played a pretty big role in all those matches. It was nice to beat them.”

With reporting from Shun Graves.