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Central Valleys Amaya reaches record heights during her senior year
Hawks, Bulldogs garner recognition
Emely Amaya had a memorable final season with the Hawks. Amaya was voted WAC co-MVP. She won 11 of 12 matches while leading CV to its first-ever playoff appearance. - photo by DALE BUTLER/Courier file photo

Emely Amaya reached program-record heights during her final season with Central Valley High School's varsity girls tennis team.

The senior will be remembered as the Hawks' all-time greatest player, female or male.

"I knew she'd be competitive," head coach Mike Rodriguez said. "I really didn't see her getting to this level because soccer's her main sport. She's never taken lessons. For her to have the type of year she had was pretty impressive."

Amaya and Los Banos' Shirley Liu were named Western Athletic Conference co-Most Valuable Players in a vote by the league's head coaches on Oct. 28 at Central Valley.

"I'm pretty proud of what I did," Emely said. "I never would have seen myself come this far."

Amaya, a four-year starter who ascended to the top spot in Central Valley's lineup as a junior, compiled a near-perfect 11-1 record during the 2014 WAC regular season.

Emely won three of four matches en route to a runner-up finish at the conference's singles tournament.

"She got better each year," Rodriguez said. "She worked hard every day."

Central Valley's Teresa Diaz and Ceres High's Angelica Slater and Janet Jimenez earned first-team all-conference honors.

Diaz compiled a 9-3 record while spitting playing time at No. 2, 3 and 4 singles.

Teresa, a junior, knocked off two No. 1 singles players while placing fourth at the WAC championships.

"You could see a huge difference in how she was hitting the ball this year," Rodriguez said. "When she was on her game, she was tough to beat."

Slater, Ceres High's No. 1 singles player, won five of her nine matches.

"She was one of the top four players in the league," Bulldogs head coach Jack Jacques said. "She brought a lot of athleticism to the game. She had a good mind-set. She didn't get down."

Jimenez posted a perfect 10-0 record at No. 3 singles. She had an 0-2 mark while filling in for Gabriella Blandino at No. 2 singles.

"Janet won most of her matches in straight sets," Jacques said. "She didn't make a lot of errors. She was consistent all year."

Blandino (Sr.), Bianca DeAnda (Sr.) and Juliana Rosas (Sr.) were selected to the WAC Second Team.

"I'm really happy," Jacques said. "All of the girls were worthy of being honored."

Blandino won six of her 12 matches at No. 2 singles.

DeAnda and Rosas finished 7-5 and 7-4, respectively, at No. 4 and 6 singles.

"Gabriella was the team leader my two years here," Jacques said. "Bianca was a grinder. Juliana had a big heart. I really enjoyed coaching all of those girls."