The dream season for the Serra boys’ tennis team continues to get better.
The West Catholic Athletic League announced its Players of the Year Friday and the Padres swept the awards — with Sean Talmadge taking home Player of the Year honors, and Joey Simpson and Alex Frank named Doubles Team of the Year.
The awards come in a season that saw Serra win its first WCAL title since 1990 and beat Central Coast Section powerhouse Bellarmine College Prep twice in a season.
“This was definitely the best year not just because we won, but because it’s my last year at Serra and on the team and as the cliché goes, we went out with a bang,” Simpson said.
“After we played Bellarmine the first time, and we beat them pretty handily, we knew we had a pretty good dynamic,” Frank said of the award-winning duo. “We knew after that match that we had something special. We kind of rode that momentum throughout the whole year.”
It’s a momentum that took the duo to an 18-0 regular-season record. Considering that 2013 was the first season Frank and Simpson have played together, the way they found such dominating chemistry on the court in sensational. Frank is only in his second year of playing doubles while Simpson has overcome a tibia stress fracture he suffered March of 2012.
“Off the court, me and Joey have always been pretty good friends throughout the four years that we’ve been together,” Frank said. “Sean, myself and him have always been close off the court, so once we started playing on the court, the on the court [chemistry] came easy because of the relationship off the court. We really balance each other out well. I think that was the key to our success.
“My biggest strength would probably be my serve. On my serves, he’s able to get a lot of easy volleys and end the point quickly. And his strength is his ground strokes, his speed, he hits great volleys. So, he does a lot.”
“After a couple of matches, we started to become completely meshed, basically,” Simpson said. “And we just started doing very well and everything just fell into place. It wasn’t very really hard to create that chemistry.”
The honors for the three seniors are extra sweet considering the amount of time and work they’ve invested in the Serra program. All three made the varsity team as freshmen. And four years later, they’ll graduate as Serra’s first WCAL champions since 1990.
Talmadge is the second in his family to win the WCAL’s Player of the Year award — following in the footsteps of his brother Spencer, a former CCS champion.
“This is a goal of his since his freshman year,” Frank said. “I know his brother was the Player of the Year a couple of times, so it’s just a big accomplishment for him and his family and the team in general. I’ve seen him grow as a tennis player and it’s really a culmination of all the hard work he puts in during the off-season (and) just how much he want to win.”
“It’s definitely fun to watch,” Simpson said of Talmadge. “He’s an excellent player and besides being an excellent player, he’s an excellent guy. He’s really friendly and he’s fun to be around and our friendship has grown through tennis. Watching him play is fun because he’s so good.”
Serra’s Matt Campana also made the All-WCAL team.
“When we came in,” Frank said, “we didn’t get any respect from any other teams because it was our coach’s first year too. It was hard to gain that respect. I think by accomplishing what we have this year, it just means everything. This year, not just the seniors, made a determined effort to really go after it.”