Ryland McDermott wasn’t the popular pick to win the Sunrise Region boys singles tournament.
The Coronado sophomore wasn’t even the top-seeded player from his own team.
The underdog role, though, suited McDermott perfectly.
A day after defeating top seed and teammate Cassell King in the semifinals, McDermott outlasted Liberty junior Dylan Ihmels 7-5, 6-4 to win the region tournament Saturday at Bishop Gorman.
“I wanted to be the underdog,” McDermott said. “I knew I could beat those guys. I’ve seen them play, and I’ve seen their weaknesses.”
McDermott gutted through a long first set, but was down a service break early in the second set.
He rattled off the last four games to secure the match.
“Because I lost to him in team competition, I knew it was going to be a battle,” McDermott said. “My forehand, moving him around and going inside-out worked well. I knew I had to hold serve and just take my chances and get a break.”
The top two finishers in each region qualify for the Division I state tournament, which begins Friday at Darling Tennis Center. The third-place finishers in both regions square off in a play-in match Tuesday at Darling.
“This gives me a lot of confidence for state, a lot,” McDermott said. “I have high expectations for state.”
Coronado senior Paris Reese encountered some early trouble in the girls singles final, falling down a break to Green Valley’s Josie Legarza.
Reese, though, won the final four games of the opening set and took advantage of a break midway through the second to top Legarza 6-3, 6-4.
“I was moving the ball around, and I was very confident,” Reese said. “I told myself that I just needed to focus on what I needed to do.
“I’m just having fun out there.”
The Cougars had plenty of success Saturday with sophomore twins Jack Vance and Jamie Vance breezing to a 6-1, 6-3 win over Coronado teammates Aaron Egbert and Michael Boyd in the boys doubles finals.
Twins also took the girls doubles final, as Liberty’s Payton Burk and Parker Burk prevented a Coronado sweep by downing Nikoletta Nikoloff and Robert Padalino 6-4, 6-3.
Coronado’s Cassell King placed third in boys singles, and Liberty’s Tristan Hoyle and Matt Drongensen were third in boys doubles.
Green Valley players took third in both girls flights, with Racquel Holder winning her consolation singles match and Paola Davila and Sydney Crosby taking third in doubles.
Contact reporter Bartt Davis at email@example.com or 702-387-5230.