Central Valley’s varsity girls tennis team had a tough draw in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-II playoffs.
To make matters worse, head coach Mike Rodriguez had to shuffle his starting lineup for the match as No. 2 singles player Gianna Arce wasn’t able to compete for an unspecified reason.
The sixth-seeded St. Mary's Rams ended up coasting to an 8-1 win over the No. 11 Hawks on Oct. 29 in Stockton.
Central Valley (Central California Conference) and St. Mary’s (Tri-City Athletic League) both placed second in their respective conferences during the regular season.
“We didn’t have all of our players,” Rodriguez said. “We had some girls in new spots. We would have been a lot more competitive (with our regular lineup).”
Central Valley won one of six singles and dropped all three doubles matches to St. Mary’s.
Guadalupe Becerra bested Ali Gabbard 6-3, 6-4 in No. 1 singles play to prevent the shutout.
“I’m pretty happy with how I played. I definitely wasn’t intimidated. I just saw it as another match. I played my game. I was patient.”Guadalupe Becerra
“I’m pretty happy with how I played,” Becerra said. “I definitely wasn’t intimidated. I just saw it as another match. I played my game. I was patient.”
Sunaina Dhillon lost 6-2, 6-4 to Izzy Garcia in No. 2 singles play.
Mixtly Vega lost 6-1, 6-4 to Lauren Basso in No. 3 singles play.
Elisabeth Valdez lost 6-4, 6-2 to Madeleine Heli in No. 4 singles play.
Bandha Bhatti lost 6-3, 6-3 to Saejel Mohan in No. 5 singles play.
Virginia Moore lost 6-3, 6-3 to Victoria Reed in No. 6 singles play.
Daniela Yepez and Lizbeth Martinez lost 6-1, 6-2 to Taylor Basso and Isabella Podesto in No. 1 doubles play.
Sabina Dhillon and Christina Hermenegildo lost 6-0, 6-0 to Ava Fields and Mia Fields in No. 2 doubles play.
Sadie Porras and Priscilla Sanchez lost 7-5, 6-1 to Sophia Fields and Lisette Almanza in No. 3 doubles play.
The Hawks posted a program-best 14-5 overall record this fall.
“Most of the girls on the team were seniors,” Becerra said. “We wanted to make this season fun because it was our last.”
Newcomers to the Central California Conference, Central Valley won 12 of 14 matches on its way to a runner-up finish.
First-place El Capitan edged Central Valley twice (5-4, 6-3). “We knew we had to be better this year,” Becerra said. “We were going into a tougher division. It made us work harder.”
The Hawks have qualified for the playoffs four times in the past five years.
Central Valley will face a rebuilding year in 2019 as seven of 12 starters will be lost to graduation, including Becerra, Vega, Valdez, Yepez, Martinez, Sanchez and Sunaina Dhillon.