The Lincoln Trojans boys tennis team didn't win three straight league titles for no reason, and the Trojans aren't ready to let a potential fourth straight go down in flames.
Or to the Flames, to be more precise.
After being upset by Lodi earlier in the season, Lincoln exacted revenge on their home court Tuesday, edging the previously unbeaten Flames 3-2 and pulling into a first-place tie in the San Joaquin Athletic Association standings.
Unless one of the teams falter down the stretch, they'll finish as SJAA co-champions. Lodi won the earlier meeting 3-2, Lincoln's only league loss thus far. It was Lodi's first victory over Lincoln in more than three years.
"I'm not disappointed. We were clearly the underdogs coming into the season," Lodi coach John Stroh said. "We weren't expecting to be in this position. I'm proud of the guys.
"If we can take care of business the rest of the way, we can still share the title."
While Lodi (7-1 SJAA) took two of three singles matches on Tuesday, Stroh said he was particularly proud of senior Mitch Hanner, who lost his match to two-time defending-SJAA champion Steven Oechel 6-3, 6-3.
"Mitch played a really good match," Stroh said. "He played with a lot of heart today."
Picking up wins for the Flames were Roman Ranke and Danny Miladinovich.
Ranke, who came up with the pivotal victory the last time the teams met, once again outlasted Lincoln's Danny Nahl in three sets. After dropping the opener, Ranke recovered for the 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 triumph.
Miladinovich continued his stellar play, knocking off the Trojans' Peter Cossette 6-2, 6-4 to remain unbeaten on the season.
"Danny's tennis game is really getting back in top form," Stroh said.
Lincoln (7-1 SJAA), which split the doubles matches in the earlier loss, came away with the sweep on Tuesday.
Lodi's Julian Castillo and Jack Zech lost to Mark Admundson and Anthony Corradi 6-2, 6-1, and the Flames' tandem of Chad Marchand and Matt Rosenberg, who pulled off an upset in the first meeting, lost to Albert Woo and Mark Crockett 6-1, 6-2.
Lodi hosts Edison 3:30 p.m. Thursday at Twin Arbors Athletic Club before a tough home match against St. Mary's on Tuesday.
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