Veteran Arroyo Grande tennis coach Lori Hollister had racked up a lot of wins.
One win that eluded her had been one in a CIF Southern Section divisional championship. That changed in 2013 when the Eagles beat arch rival San Luis Obispo 13-5 in the Division 3 championship at the Claremont Club.
As the afternoon wore on Saturday, the tributes in honor of the late Josh Caldera kept coming in.
Arroyo Grande was seeded seventh. The Tigers beat top seed Valencia (Placencia) 10-8 and No. 5 Long Beach Wilson by the same score.
The sectional divisional title was the first for an Arroyo Grande tennis team in school history.
“Sean got the clinching point for us, and that made it extra special,” Lori Hollister said afterward.
Sean Hollister is Lori Hollister’s son. He was the Eagles’ No. 2 singles player.
Hollister, Eli Whittle and Derek Lakowske combined for a nine-for-nine day in singles sets for the Eagles.
The Eagles won 54 singles games. The Tigers won seven.
“54 games to seven. That’s about as commanding as it gets,” said Lori Hollister.
The Eagles swept their three matches against the Tigers that year.
Arroyo Grande doubles tandem Cole Laughton and Ryley Anderson gave the Eagles a huge boost at the end of the first round with a 6-3 win over Brandon Lippold and Cole Stephenson. That win gave the Eagles a 4-2 lead after the first round.
“We were a little nervous at the start because we’d played them twice before and we knew how they played,” said Laughton.
“But after we got down 0-3, we just started playing smarter. We got in a groove and played the way we can play.”
Laughton said, “This is one of the high points of my high school career, for sure.”
Laughton and Anderson won twice. Bryan Rozo and Tyler Anderson, Rylee’s twin brother, won twice as well.
“We’re hurting a little bit,” San Luis Obispo coach Ken Peet said. “We thought we had a chance to win.”
After those two big upsets, “I think we just ran out of juice a little bit today.”
Arroyo Grande won the Division 3 championship with the last of three 13-5 playoff wins.
Hollister’s girls team won a sectional divisional championship in 2015. Sophie Whittle, Eli’s younger sister, led that team.
Both Whittles were four-time league singles champions. Both signed to play tennis in college, and Sophie Whittle had a big career at Gonzaga.
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