RENO — No matter what route they take, the Palo Verde and Coronado boys tennis teams always seem to end up in the same place.
They will meet up again at noon Friday in the finals of the Division I state tournament at the Caughlin Athletic Club after both teams collected a semifinal win Thursday.
Palo Verde defeated North No. 1 seed Reno, 12-6, and Coronado beat North No. 2 seed Bishop Manogue, 14-4.
The Cougars have gotten the better of the Panthers to win the last two state championships, after Palo Verde had beaten them three times in the finals while winning four state titles in five years between 2006-10.
“It’s crazy that we can meet in the finals so many times,” Coronado coach Luther Bohanan. “It will be a team from Las Vegas bringing home the state title, so it’s not a disgrace to come in second to a quality team from the other side of the valley.”
Thursday’s final scores may have been similar, but the matches were much different.
Palo Verde made coach Zach Brandt sweat for two rounds, leading just 7-5 before pulling out the victory. Coronado dominated its first round matchup and led 9-3 after two rounds.
“I’m sweating a little bit because it’s been a tough day,” Brandt said. “I knew Reno would give us a dogfight.”
Rhett Bossung and the doubles team of Conor Safbom and Brandon Sulzberg each went 3-0 to lead Palo Verde, but a key turning point in the third round might have been a disagreement over a line call.
Reno’s Nick Rinehart questioned a ball that Palo Verde’s Ethan Ballard called out, and then requested a line judge. Ballard then broke serve to go up 3-0 and cruised to a 6-0 win as part of a round Palo Verde dominated 5-1. Ballard wound up 2-1 for the day.
“It might have made him calm down a little bit,” Brandt said.
Unlike Brandt, Bohanan was breathing free and easy after his team led 5-1 in the first round against Bishop Manogue.
The doubles teams of Kian Habashi and Martin Rizov, and Kyle Harris and Joshua Egbert and singles player Sam Grant were all 3-0 for Coronado. Ryland McDermott was 2-0 in singles for the Cougars.
“I liked the way all the kids played,” Bohanan said. “Once we had it won in third round, the kids could have lost focus and let up, and they didn’t. To me that’s a good sign. If we do that tomorrow and not worry about the score, I like our chances. We’ve got a shot to do something.”
Bohanon predicted Friday’s finals will come down to the third round, while Brandt said it could come down to who can get more out of their No. 3 singles and doubles teams.
“Coronado is very good so it will be who has the energy, who makes the least amount of unforced errors and who can quell their nerves,” Brandt said. “That’s one of the biggest factors.”
Michael Pasimio and Marcus Pasimio each went 3-0 in singles to help Clark’s boys win their 50th consecutive match with a 13-5 victory over South Tahoe in the Division I-A boys semifinals at the Reno Tennis Center.
The Chargers (15-0) will face The Meadows (13-3) for the title at noon Friday.
Chaitanya Ingle and Felix Zurhorst were 3-0 in doubles for Clark.
The Mustangs rode a singles sweep to an 11-7 victory over Truckee.
Kevin Chau, Alex Lanzkowsky and Matthew Lamb each went 3-0 in singles for The Meadows.