SEATTLE - For the second year in a row, Danny Plesha's only tennis loss of the season came against the eventual State champion.
This past weekend, Plesha was third for Sunnyside in the State 3A tennis tourney, losing only to eventual champion Davis Mangham of Lakeside, near Bellevue, in the semifinals.
Mangham, who was second at State last year, defeated Plesha 6-2, 7-6 in Saturday's semifinal match.
"Danny got off to an uncharacteristically slow start," Sunnyside Coach Troy Whittle said of the match. "He flubbed some forehands, but that kid (Mangham) was great, he has an awesome backhand."
Whittle said a key to the match's start, in which Plesha was down 4-0 in the first set, was the fact Mangham has played USTA tennis this year and Plesha did not.
"Danny has not played against competition close to that kid's level this year," Whittle noted. "But to Danny's credit he figured it out and they were both virtually even players from there. They both held serve the rest of the way."
Following the semifinal loss-which Whittle said many coaches at the tourney considered a state title caliber match-Plesha rebounded to take third place honors.
Plesha won the third/fifth place match 6-2, 6-1 over Bryan Thorp of Kennedy High School near Tacoma.
Plesha's road to the semifinals began this past Friday with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Simon Waite from Mark Morris High School near Longview.
"Danny started great, he had his game working for him," Whittle said.
Plesha followed with a 6-2, 7-5 quarterfinal victory over Mercer Island's Chris Bailey to earn a spot in the semis.
"If Danny would have played in any other classification (1A, 2A, 4A) he would be a two-time defending State champion," Whittle said. "He's beaten all the kids who won those titles. The kid he couldn't beat just happened to be in the semifinals."
Plesha closed out his Sunnyside tennis career with four District titles, four Regional titles and four State trophies. His overall record during that span was 115-11.