The Taft High girls’ varsity tennis team will host Liberty of Madera in the Valley Division IV finals at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Last year, the Wildcats lost in the Valley finals, 9-0, to a dominant Bakersfield Christian team led by two-time defending champion Chelby Cooke and Jimmi Futrell, No. 5 in the Valley.
But this year, Taft swept BCHS in the regular season and the Eagles moved up to Division III, where they host Ridgeview in the D3 Valley finals at 2:30 p.m. today.
Taft is seeded No. 1 and will face a Liberty team that has won Division V the past two years and was moved up to Division IV this year.
To get to the finals, Taft beat the No. 4 seeded Woodlake Tigers, 6-3, on Thursday, while Liberty beat No. 3 seed Strathmore, 5-4.
Taft’s No. 1 Ana Estrada fell to Woodlake’s Selena Harrison, 7-6 (8-6), 6-3. Taylan Erro held on to beat Dalila Vasquez, 6-2, 4-6, 10-8. Yeraldin Barrera lost to Joee Denis, 6-3, 6-2.
But Taft won the bottom three singles matches. Diana Medina was the first one off the court with an emphatic, 6-1, 6-2 win over Paris Carlsen. Gloria Hartley beat Selena Ramirez, 6-4, 6-2. And, in a key win, Lupita Lozano held on to beat Xochitl Quezada, 6-1, 6-7 (5-7), 10-7.
In a battle of league doubles champions, Taft lost the No. 1 doubles to Harrison and Vasquez, 6-2, 6-3. But it was all Taft after that. Erro and Medina disposed of Denis and Carlsen, 6-0, 6-0. And, Roxi Barboza and JC Yarbrough dispatched Regina Lewis and Briana Romero, 6-0, 6-1.
Taft improved to 22-4. Woodlake finished 16-6.