Carson High doubles team wins 4A Northern Regional tennis title
RENO — It was several years in the making, but the Carson High doubles pairing of Eric Tomita and Bradley Wiggins is headed to the state tournament.
Friday afternoon the duo knew they only needed one win to secure a spot at the state tournament — they left with two and a 4A Northern Region doubles title.
As the No. 1 seed, they opened play in the semifinals against the 11th seed from Bishop Manogue, Dominic Benna and James Cook.
Carson took down the pair from Bishop Manogue 6-3, 6-4 in the semifinals before topping a Reno pairing in the regional finals, 6-3, 6-2.
“Coming up short in quarterfinal two years in a row has been pretty disappointing,” Wiggins said. “It is great knowing that we made it to the state tournament.”
Clinching state berth
In the first set, the Senators were squarely in control, taking a 5-1 lead after breaking Bishop Manogue’s serve twice.
“Playing our game, not their game,” Tomita said was the key to victory.
Bishop Manogue won the next two games, but the Senators didn’t fret as an overhead winner from Wiggins capped the opening set, 6-3, in favor of Carson.
The second set was much tighter and each pairing broke serve once on the way to a 2-2 start.
On serve, Wiggins made a charging effort to reach a slower ball, which set up an overhead smash for Tomita.
Tomita’s winner gave Carson a 3-2 lead before the Senators then stole a break from Manogue.
It was Tomita again who led the charge to move Carson in front 4-2. A backhand, down the line return winner from the right-hander tied the game at 30-all, shifting the confidence to Carson.
Two points later, Wiggins plucked a lob out of the air and put it off the back fence to give Carson a 4-2 lead.
Bishop Manogue rallied back with a break of their own to knot the second set at 4-4.
Down 0-30 on Wiggins’ serve, the duo switched formations to try to throw off the rhythm of the Miners.
Benna and Cook had been looking to lob all match and the Senators mixed up looks and were able to dig their way out of the hole.
“We had to adapt our game, because of the pace. It slowed way down,” Wiggins said. “We managed to pull it out in the second set. There were a couple of key points that we were able to win.”
Carson switched to an I-formation where Tomita, who was at net, crouched down in the center of the court, which kept the Miners from knowing which side of the court he was going to cover.
“They were getting way too comfortable,” Wiggins said about the strategy switch. “By switching it up they got uncomfortable.”
The switch worked as Carson rallied behind four points in a row to hold Wiggins’ serve and take a 5-4 lead.
“My serve has been low and flat, which has been great for Eric because he is ready at the net to put anything away,” Wiggins said.
The duo fell down 0-30 again in the 10th game of the set, but rallied back before closing the match on another down the line backhand from Tomita that went unreturned.
“They wanted it so much, I wanted it for them,” said Adam Whatley, Carson tennis coach. “For them, this is not a small thing.”
It marks Tomita and Wiggins’ first trip to the state tournament in their third year of playing doubles together.
“Third time is the charm, it is nice,” said Tomita. “We worked hard for it.”
Up next: The duo travels to Las Vegas for the 4A state doubles tournament starting Wednesday at Bishop Gorman.