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Hawks drop to second place in WAC girls tennis
Tradition-rich Tigers deal CV first loss
Central Valleys Nicole Munoz (pictured above) and Trinity Avila lost 2-6, 6-3, 10-6 to Los Banos Brooklyn Garcia and Haley Ballez in No. 2 doubles play last week. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Los Banos has been a model of consistency since joining the Western Athletic Conference in 2010.

Central Valley enjoyed a breakthrough season last fall.

The host Hawks embraced the challenge of facing the Tigers in varsity girls tennis this past week in Ceres.

Los Banos extended its unbeaten streak in WAC play to 66 matches with a hard-fought 6-3 victory over Central Valley on Tuesday, Sept. 29.

The second-place Hawks (5-1) won their previous five contests prior to losing to the first-place Tigers (6-0).

Central Valley placed second in conference play and qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs for the first time in 2014.

"I'm not disappointed with the effort," Hawks head coach Mike Rodriguez said. "We played hard. We competed. We came in pretty confident. When you play Los Banos, they're so consistent. You can't let them sit back and be comfortable. You got to make them make difficult shots. We could have been a lot more aggressive."

The Hawks would have secured a 5-4 victory and ended the Tigers' WAC unbeaten streak with wins at No. 2 singles and No. 2 doubles. Both matches were decided in three sets.

Central Valley's Jadah Jackson lost 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 to Los Banos' Taylor Torongo in No. 2 singles play.

"She played hard," Rodriguez said while talking about Jackson's performance. "Her effort was good."

Central Valley's Trinity Avila and Nicole Munoz lost 2-6, 6-3, 10-6 to Los Banos' Brooklyn Garcia and Haley Ballez in No. 2 doubles play.

Trinity and Nicole are first-year tennis players.

"Los Banos made an adjustment and starting hitting the ball down the line," Rodriguez said.

Central Valley's Claudia Martinez defeated Los Banos' Kiara Azevedo 6-2, 6-3 in No. 6 singles play.

Martinez, a standout wrestler, won in straight sets.

"She plays a real slow style," Rodriguez said. "She's really consistent."

Central Valley's Vanessa Monroy and Amy Nguyen defeated Los Banos' Emma Little and Lia Polazzo 6-2, 6-3 in No. 1 doubles play.

"They're pretty experienced," Rodriguez said. "They've played together the past couple of years."

Central Valley's Maria Rojas and Stephanie Lopez defeated Los Banos' Christina Espana and Chloe Emmerson 2-6, 7-5, 10-4 in No. 3 doubles play.

"That was surprising," Rodriguez said. "I didn't think we'd win that match. They got the ball back and made Los Banos make some mistakes."

Hawk teammates Bryana Lopez, Celest Lepe and Chelsea Flores all dropped their respective matches.

Lopez lost 6-0, 6-0 to Melanie Silva in No. 3 singles play.

Lepe lost 6-0, 6-1 to Kylee Cardoza in No. 4 singles play.

Flores lost 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 to Adri Moreno in No. 5 singles play.

The Tigers amassed a 60-0 record en route to claiming five straight WAC titles from 2010-14.

The Hawks have won 15 of their last 18 conference matches dating back to last season. "Los Banos hasn't lost since 2009," Rodriguez said. "They have pretty good athletes. Most of their girls play multiple sports. They also have a great coach. They're so consistent."