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Memorable run for Gonzales
Central Valley High School girls tennis player Melissa Gonzales shined at the Valley Oak League championships last week in Stockton.

She won two of three matches en route to a top four finish in a field of 24 in the singles tournament.

Gonzales lost 6-2, 6-3 to Sonora's Carley Steichen in the semifinals on Tuesday, Oct. 30 at Weston Ranch High School. Steichen lost 6-4, 6-2 to Ceres High's McKenzy Harden in the finals.

Melissa defeated Sierra's Michelle LaLaurin 8-3 in the second round and Oakdale's Carolyn Rowley 8-1 in the quarterfinals. She received a first-round bye.

"Melissa played out of her mind," head coach Todd Russell said. "It was awesome."

Gonzales returned to the Hawks after a two-year hiatus. She was a member of the Ceres High tennis team during her freshman year.

"I think she had a lot to prove," Russell said. "Everybody heard she could play but never actually seen it."

Gonzales finished the year with a 22-11 record. She won 20 of 30 matches during the VOL regular season.

"It didn't really surprise me," Russell said. "The last couple of weeks she started playing really good."

Teammates Anna Polovin and Jessica Rodriguez also performed well.

Polovin defeated Manteca's Cassie Gause 8-5 in the first round. She lost 8-0 to Rowley in the second round.

Rodriguez lost 9-8 (7-2) to Sierra's Jenna Anderson in the opening round.

Gonzales also advanced to the semifinals of the VOL doubles tournament on Thursday in Stockton.

"That's pretty impressive," Russell said.

Melissa and Jessica lost 10-6 to Sonora's Koko Ankrom and Rachel Shelton. Ankrom and Shelton defeated Oakdale's Rowley and Ali Maddox for the championship.

Gonzales and Rodriguez beat East Union's Amanda Baker and Cozy Heinze 8-5 in the quarterfinals and Oakdale's Raleigh O'Brien and Tiana Teague 8-2 in the second round. They couldn't match Rodriguez's speed or Gonzales' aggressiveness.

"They worked really well together because they practiced doubles every Friday," Russell said.

Central Valley's Jessica Gutierrez and Erika Marmolejo, and April Hernandez and Carissa Garcia also participated in the doubles event.

Gutierrez and Erika Marmolejo lost 8-6 to O'Brien and Teague in the first round. Hernandez and Garcia lost 8-6 to Ceres High's Sydney Featherstone and Angie Prak.