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Learning year for CV Hawks
Jessica Saini and Harman Kaur
Jessica Saini and Harman Kaur will both fill key roles as singles players on Central Valley’s girls tennis team this fall. - photo by Dale Butler

Central Valley High School’s girls tennis team will compete in the Central California Conference this fall.

The Hawks relocated from the CCC to the Western Athletic Conference for just one season last year for travel and public health reasons related to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The CCC is a tougher league,” head coach Mike Rodriguez said. “The level of play is a lot cleaner and better. The coaching staffs are really good. It’s going to be an adjustment for the girls. They just got to be ready to play every match.”

Central Valley’s starting lineup will look drastically different in 2021 as eight players were lost to graduation, including Bandna Bhatti, Virginia Moore, Sabina Dhillon, Eliza Quetzel, Edith Amaya, Manmeet Kaur, Arely Acevedo and Leslie Camacena.

“It’s going to be a learning year,” Rodriguez said.

The Hawks have a 20-person roster: Jessica Saini (Sr.), Harman Kaur (Sr.), Malina Keomuangchanh (Sr.), Angie Medrano Fregoso (Jr.), Lesly Rivas (Jr.), Kaitlyn Teng (Jr.), Alika Victorino (Sr.), Leslie Bobadilla (Sr.), Navreet Pattar (Sr.), Dailyn Melchner (Sr.), Samantha Perez Mendez (Jr.), Alondra Robles (Jr.), Marlene Jaquez (Jr.), Rinah Dulay (Sr.), Taleia Lopez (Sr.), Liana Guzman (Jr.), Judith Torres (Jr.), Elisa Cruz (So.), Lliria Lira Trinidad (So.) and Lizeth Cazares Perez (Fr.).

“It’s a good group of girls,” Rodriguez said. “They’re really coachable. They get along well. They’re fun to be around.”

Saini, Kaur, Keomuangchanh, Medrano, Rivas and Teng will play singles for the Hawks.

“We have a lot of doubles players making the jump to singles,” Rodriguez said. “The more matches they play, the more familiar they’ll get playing singles. It will be interesting to see what happens.”

Victorino, Bobadilla, Pattar, Melchner, Perez and Robles will contribute at doubles.

Saini, Kaur, Keomuangchanh, Medrano, Rivas, Teng, Victorino, Pattar, Perez, Robles and Jaquez are returners.

The Hawks enjoyed a major turnaround this past season by amassing an 8-4 overall record and finishing in second place in the WAC standings (6-2).

Playoffs were canceled in an effort to allow student-athletes as much time as possible to play some matches during the 2020 COVID-19 shortened season.

Central Valley won two of 14 matches en route to a sixth-place finish in the CCC in 2019. The Hawks amassed a program-best 14-5 overall record and placed second in conference play (12-2) in 2018.

Central Valley, Livingston, Patterson, Atwater, Buhach Colony, Merced, Golden Valley and El Capitan make up the CCC.

“I don’t have a prediction,” Rodriguez said. “We haven’t played these teams in a couple years. We don’t know what kind of players they have and if they have full rosters. I’ll have a better idea where we’re at once we play a couple matches.”