Emely Amaya split playing time at No. 5 and 6 singles during her freshman year with Central Valley High School's varsity girls tennis program.
"The only reason I tried out was because of my older sister Elizabeth," said Emely, who spent one season at No. 4 singles prior to ascending to the top spot in the Hawks' lineup.
Amaya advanced to the finals of the Western Athletic Conference Singles Championships this past week.
Emely lost in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2, to Los Banos freshman Shirley Liu on Thursday at Central Valley.
"I was really nervous," Amaya said. "A lot of people were counting on me. I was representing the whole school."
Amaya stormed out to a 3-0 lead in the first set.
"She did a pretty good job of dictating the match early," Central Valley head coach Mike Rodriguez said. "That flipped later on."
Liu bounced back with a 12-3 title-clinching run. Tied at 2-2, Shirley won four straight points during the second set.
Amaya and Liu were named WAC co-MVPs in a vote by the league's head coaches.
Emely compiled an 0-2 record versus Shirley this year.
"I was on my game in the beginning," Amaya said while talking about her finals match versus Liu. "Then I slowed down. She started moving more. I got a little frustrated. I wish I would have done better."
Amaya defeated El Capitan's Dana Villarama (6-2, 6-0), Pacheco's Irian Islas (6-1, 6-1) and Los Banos' Melanie Silva (6-4, 6-0) during the first day of the WAC singles tournament on Oct. 28.
Amaya became the first player in Central Valley tennis history to advance to the WAC finals.
Emely posted a 14-2 record in league play. She won 11 of 12 matches during the WAC regular season.
Emely also earned an individual berth to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-II Varsity Girls Tennis Championships.
"I never would have seen myself come this far," said Amaya, whose main sport is soccer. "I'm pretty proud of what I did."