In a battle of unbeaten league teams, Bakersfield Christian proved to be too much for the Taft High varsity tennis team Thursday, winning 6-3. Taft won the JV contest, 7-2.
“Bakersfield Christian was too good at the top,” Taft coach Jim Carnal lamented. “Their No. 1, Sullivan Roche, is one of the top four players in the Valley, and their No. 2, Nolan Schuler, is the second-best player in the league.”
At No. 1 singles, Roche, a senior, made quick work of junior Rafa Arreguin, 6-0, 6-0. Likewise, Schuler, a senior, wasted little time in beating junior Chuy Gutierrez, 6-0, 6-1. Taft’s Matua Iakopo was competitive against Tanner Harris, but still lost, 6-3, 6-4. Taft’s Cameron Bunch was outplayed by the cruelly efficient Nicolo Daug, 6-1, 6-2.
Taft earned its wins at the bottom. At No. 5 singles, Cristo Miranda had no problem with Peter Zhang, 6-1, 6-2. At No. 6, Brayan Herrera outlasted Joe Cao, 7-6 (10-8), 2-6, 10-6.
With the match still unsettled after the singles round, Bakersfield Christian coach Frank Thiessen was forced into the rare position of having to play his top players in doubles.
Taft won the No. 3 doubles handily with Kyler Fields and Oscar Martinez dominating Brad Robinson and David Porter, 6-3, 6-1. But BCHS won the top two doubles and the match. Roche and Harris beat Gutierrez and Iakopo, 6-0, 6-2. Schuler and Daug beat Arreguin and Miranda, 6-2, 6-2.
Taft dropped to 14-3 overall and 6-1 in the South Sequoia League. Bakersfield Christian improved to 12-6 overall and 7-0 in the SSL.
The story was reversed in the JV match with Taft sweeping the top games and losing just the two bottom doubles.
Isaiah Sharp beat Brandon Vincent, 6-0, 6-1. Brian Ortega beat Laurens Gibson, 6-1, 6-2. Samuel Kendrick beat Zack Banducci, 6-2, 6-0. Justin Covington beat Connor Murrey, 6-0, 6-3. Phuc Nguyen beat Nick Cecela, 6-1, 6-4. And, Elver Zavala beat Cody Allen, 6-1, 6-1.
At No. 1 doubles, No. 2 Ortega and No. 3 Kendrick beat No. 1 Vincent and No. 2 Gibson, 8-3. But at No. 2 doubles, Number 1 Sharp and No. 9 Pedro Martinez lost to No. 3 Banducci and No. 5 Cecela, 8-2. At No. 3 doubles, George Hartley and Kaleb Harlan lost to Luis Soto and Herman Santor, 6-1, 6-3.
Taft’s JV improved to 11-1 overall and 5-0 in the SSL.