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Hardcourt honors
CV, CHS players earn all-conference recognition
Senior Claudia Martinez had a memorable final season with Central Valleys varsity girls tennis team. Martinez advanced to the semifinals of the Western Athletic Conference Singles Tournament for the second year in a row. Claudia earned first-team all-league honors. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Claudia Martinez's older sister, Alexandrea, introduced her to the sport of tennis when she was in the eighth grade.
Now a senior, Claudia ascended to the top spot in Central Valley's lineup.

Alexandrea was a key member of the Hawks' varsity girls tennis team from 2011-13. She won 10 of 13 matches while contributing at No. 4 singles her senior year.

"I look up to my sister because she plays in college," said Claudia, who wrapped up her two-plus-year career with Central Valley this fall. "She's a really talented player."

For the second year in a row, Claudia advanced to the semifinals of the Western Athletic Conference Singles Tournament.

"I didn't expect her to develop into a top four player in league," Hawks head coach Mike Rodriguez said. "She won with a very different style of play. She gets everything back."

"The lob shot is a very useful tool," Martinez said. "It slows the game down. A point is a point. It doesn't matter how you earn it."

Claudia was selected to the WAC First Team.

She won 12 of her 18 conference matches while starring at No. 1 singles.
Martinez had a perfect 11-0 mark at No. 6 singles during the 2015 WAC regular season.

She beat two of three opponents at the conference tournament.

Claudia garnered second-team all-conference recognition.

"I really didn't know what to expect going from No. 6 to No. 1 singles," Martinez said. "I didn't expect to get first-team all-league. It surprised me when they called my name."

"She never got flustered when the matches got tough," Rodriguez said. "That helped her out a lot. She's pretty competitive."

Claudia followed in her sister's footsteps.

She also contributed at doubles before making the jump to singles.

Claudia will be remembered as one of Central Valley's greatest players.

She ranks behind Emely Amaya and Teresa Diaz.

Emely was voted WAC co-Most Valuable Player as a senior.

She finished 11-1 during the conference's regular season.

Amaya won three of four matches en route to a runner-up finish at the WAC singles tournament.

She advanced to the quarterfinals at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-II championships.

Diaz placed in the top four at the WAC tourney her senior and junior years.

Teresa received first-team all-league accolades twice.

"I love what I do and the group of girls I'm around," Claudia said. "There's not one day I didn't enjoy it. I have to give a lot of thanks to coach Rodriguez. He helped me out."

Hawk sophomore Lupita Becerra was selected to the WAC Second Team.

Becerra compiled an 8-7 record at No. 2 singles.

Lupita won one of two matches while finishing in the top eight at the WAC singles tourney.

She made up one-half of Central Valley's No. 3 doubles team as a freshman.

"She had an impressive year, too," Rodriguez said. "She came on strong at the end of the year. She's a girl that tried to get better every day. She didn't miss practice."

Claudia and Lupita captured the WAC Doubles Tournament championship.

Seeded third, Martinez and Becerra won all four of their matches.

Martinez and Chelsea Flores finished in second place at the 2015 conference tourney.

Claudia and Lupita made program history by representing Central Valley at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-II Doubles Tournament.

"We had a pretty close bond this year because we were practically the only returners," Martinez said.

Ceres High senior Andria Esho earned first-team all-conference honors.

Esho posted a 5-10 record at No. 1 singles.

"She really improved throughout the season," Bulldogs head coach Jack Lackey said. "She played very well against some of the top players in the league."

Shania Evans didn't earn all-league recognition, but had a standout sophomore season with the Bulldogs.

She won 14 of 15 matches while competing at No. 6 singles.

"She's got good eye-hand coordination," Lackey said. "She's strong. She's one of the best athletes on our team. She might play No. 1 singles next year because of her athletic ability."

Ceres High (8-7) and Central Valley (7-8) placed third and fourth, respectively, in the WAC standings.

The Bulldogs edged the Hawks 5-4 for the conference's final playoff spot.

Central Valley won the previous two meetings by identical 5-4 scores.