Lady Wildcats faced a series of teams in the California Tennis Classic

FRESNO – The Taft High girls’ varsity tennis team finished fifth among 16 teams in the Division 6 bracket of the California Tennis Classic last Friday and Saturday.

Taft opened the tournament, with 124 teams in eight divisions the largest high school tennis tournament in the nation, with a 5-1 drubbing of Central Valley Christian. Taft then poured it on, beating Atwater of Merced, 6-0. The score was 72-7 in games.

Then things got tough. Taft, undefeated for the season at 6-0, faced unbeaten Division II Central of Fresno. The teams tied, 3-3, but Central won on sets, 7-6. Taylan Erro and Yeraldin Barrera won in straight sets, and Roxi Barboza and Jen Rivera won in an overtime, third-set tiebreaker. That loss would have sent Taft to the 2-1 bracket the next day but two Fresno host schools in Division 6 went 3-0, so Central hosted the 2-1 teams and Taft took Central’s place against the 3-0 teams at Edison.

Saturday, Taft lost to bracket champion Oakwood, a private school in West Hollywood, 5-1. Barboza and Haven Cook won in a third-set tiebreaker. Taft lost two other third-set tiebreakers, so the match was a bit closer than the score indicated.

In the final match, Taft tied Division II Edison, 3-3, but again lost on sets, 7-6. Edison swept the singles, but Taft swept the doubles. Gloria Hartley and Lupita Lozano won in a third-set tiebreaker. Barboza, who went 5-0 in the tournament, and JC Yarbrough won in straight sets. Cook, who was 4-0 in the tournament, and Rivera, who was 3-0, won the No. 3 doubles.

 “Overall, this was a good tournament for us,” coach Jim Carnal said. “We were competitive with much larger schools and with a private school. The girls played some very good competition and that will help us as we move through league matches in preparation for the Valley playoffs.