In a dramatic, marathon, close-as-could-be match, the Taft High varsity girl's tennis team outlasted Bakersfield Christian, 5-4, Tuesday here.
The win gave the Lady Wildcats a season sweep of the Eagles, which was a first for both teams. The win also virtually assures Taft, 10-0 in the South Sequoia League, the school's first league championship in tennis, Taft coach Jim Carnal said. It also marks the first time in nine years that perpetual champions BCHS will not win the league. Taft still has four games to go but the Wildcats shut out all four remaining teams, 9-0 each, in the first round.
The tense match Tuesday took four hours and went down to the wire. In the singles round of six, Taft's No. 4 Diana Medina outplayed a very good Taylor Touchstone, 6-1, 6-0. Taft's No. 5 Gloria Hartley also beat Liza Onead, 6-0, 6-3. Players in the other four singles matches all split sets so all four matches came down to third-set tiebreakers. If Taft could win three of the four, it would have the required five points to win.
But only No. 3 Yeraldin Barrera beat Abby Williams, 6-0, 2-6, 10-8. Number 1 Ana Estrada lost to the top player in the league, Tara Miller, 4-6, 6-3, 10-6. Number 2 Taylan Erro lost to Priti Devaprakash, 6-3, 2-6, 10-7. And, No. 6 Lupita Lozano lost to Kyrsten Kaing, 0-6, 6-2, 10-8. Tied, 3-3, after the singles round, both teams needed to win two of the three doubles matches.
At No. 1 doubles, Miller and Devaprakash, the No. 1 doubles team in the league, beat Estrada and Barrera, 6-2, 6-4. But Taft's Erro and Hartley easily beat Touchstone and Onead, 6-1, 6-2. Tied 4-4, it all came down to the No. 3 doubles match, just as it had in the first match between the teams. All three sets went to tiebreakers and two of them went overtime.
Taft junior Roxi Barboza and senior JC Yarbrough dropped the first set to sophomores Brittany Aguilar and Anneka Tanus, 6-7 (4-7). The teams played to a 6-6 tie in the second set. In the second-set tiebreaker to seven, BCHS jumped off to a commanding 5-1 lead, but the Taft duo fought back to win the tiebreaker 9-7. The entire match came down to a third-set, 10-point tiebreaker. The match went back and forth, 6-6, 7-7, 8-8. Leading 9-8, BCHS served for the win. And double faulted. Tied 9-9, Taft finally won the last two points to win the match, 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (9-7), 11-9.
Taft improved to 10-0 in league; 13-3 overall. BCHS dropped to 7-2 in the SSL; 10-6 overall.
Taft won the JV match in Bakersfield, 7-2 with Haven Cook and Jen Rivera picking up singles and doubles wins. Gloria Okafor, Liliana Noriega and Karina Amaya also won in singles. Destany Rocha and Lupe Salomon also won in doubles.
Page 2 of 2 - The JV team improved to 9-0 in league; 13-6 overall.