Delaware Hayes High School senior Robert Homan caused his opponent some concern in the first round of the Division I district tennis tournament May 21 at Hilliard Davidson.

Delaware Hayes High School senior Robert Homan caused his opponent some concern in the first round of the Division I district tennis tournament May 21 at Hilliard Davidson.

But Upper Arlington's Beni Benalcazar gained confidence by winning a tougher than expected first set and then rolled in the second set to win 6-2, 6-0.

The loss ended the season for Homan, the Pacers' lone district qualifier. He was just the fourth Delaware singles player in the past 30 years to advance to district.

"I really do think Robert played his best tennis in that first set," coach Dan Morrison said. "He went head-to-head with (Benalcazar) and gave him much more of a match than he had anticipated. It was a lot closer set than even the score showed."

The second set was different, as Benalcazar pulled away. He then took the first set from Thomas Worthington's Casey Cempre before losing 5-7, 6-0, 6-2. Cempre finished third and competed in the state tournament last Friday and Saturday. The top four advanced to state.

"(Benalcazar) is a big, strong kid who had a bigger serve and became more confident with his powerful first serve late in the first set," Morrison said. "That was the difference in the match. He got more confident and things snowballed. He was close to unhittable."

It was a strong season for the Pacers, who had every entry compete in at least the second round of the sectional on May 13 at Davidson.

Homan did not lose a set en route to three wins on the first day. He finished fourth after losing to top-seeded Hiromi Nakayama of Dublin Coffman 6-0, 6-0 in a semifinal and to Weston Niermeyer of St. Charles 6-4, 6-0 in his third-place match.

"It feels pretty special because it's been my goal the past three years to reach district," Homan said. "As a senior, this was my last chance."

Sophomore Nick Tanuredjo also reached a district-qualifying match. A doubles player who moved to singles for the sectional, Tanuredjo rallied to win 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 after being down 5-2 in the second set to Briggs' Jimmy Roeun. He eventually lost to Nakayama 6-0, 6-0 in the district-qualifying match.

Also in singles, sophomore Hyeon Bae fell to Gahanna's Jesse Shivener 6-0, 6-1 in the second round.

In doubles, junior Spencer Deighton and sophomore Josh Byerly lost to Davidson's Zack Page and Kevin Blackstone 6-2, 6-2. Junior Chris Leyva and senior Dung Nguyen had a first-round bye and lost to Olentangy Orange's Tanner Greene and Brett Cooper 6-2, 6-2.

In the OCC-Capital Division tournament on May 8 at Orange, Homan was runner-up at first singles, losing 6-1, 6-2 to Oliver Sybert of New Albany.

"Robert had a terrific year, was our team MVP and scholar athlete," Morrison said. "He was one of the top 64 singles players in the state and was a great role model and leader for the younger guys."

The Pacers went 4-3 in OCC-Capital duals and finished fifth in the league with 35 points. New Albany won (77), followed by Big Walnut (46), Orange (38), Mount Vernon (37), the Pacers, Hilliard Bradley (17), Watkins Memorial (12) and Franklin Heights (1).

Nguyen was third at second singles and Leyva was fourth at third singles.

Delaware, which was 8-6 overall, will lose seniors Homan, Nguyen and Ronnie Jones, who was injured.

"We beat two teams we lost to last season and we won a bunch of 3-2 matches to have one of our best seasons in several years," Morrison said. "We had different kids win decisive matches and the kids believed in the team concept."

At a glance

Record: 8-6 overall, 4-3 (fifth place) in OCC-Capital Seniors lost: Robert Homan, Ronnie Jones and Dung Nguyen Key returnees: Hyeon Bae, Josh Byerly, Spencer Deighton, Korey Kuchers, Chris Leyva and Nick Tanuredjo