Taft gets revenge against Central Valley Christian

The Taft High boys’ varsity tennis team avenged its loss in the 2013 Valley finals by beating defending champions Central Valley Christian, 8-1, on Tuesday.

Last year, No. 1 seed CVC beat No. 2 seed Taft 5-4 in the finals, but CVC lost five of its top nine players to graduation, including the Valley individual champion while Taft only lost one of its top nine players.

Taft, seeded No. 1 and 21-4 overall, dominated Tuesday’s match over the eighth-seeded Cavaliers.

CVC has one of the top players in the Valley, sophomore Bailey Gong. Taft’s Rafa Arreguin won the first game against Gong. Then Gong swept 12 in a row, winning No. 1 singles, 6-1, 6-0. It was all Taft after that.

Number 2 Chuy Gutierrez beat hard-hitting sophomore Riley Thomas, 6-4, 6-2. Cameron Bunch beat junior Sebastian Elsenbroek, 6-3, 6-1. Cristo Miranda was the first one off the court with a dominant, 6-1, 6-1 win over freshman Coby Thomas. Kyler Fields outlasted lanky lefty Kyle Hopper, 6-4, 6-3. Isaiah Sharp beat Justin Blanco, 6-1, 6-1.

Taft won the match 5-1 after singles so, under threatening, cloudy skies, the teams played eight-game pro sets for the doubles matches.

Gutierrez and Miranda beat Gong and Elsenbroek, 8-5. Seniors Arreguin and Brayan Herrera beat sophomores Riley Thomas and Tyler McClard, 8-3. And, Bunch and Pastor Magana beat Coby Thomas and Mark Hanalla, 8-3.

“We were just too experienced for them this time. We played six seniors, they only had one,” Taft coach Jim Carnal said. “Last year was their year. This year is shaping up to be ours.”

At 4 p.m. Thursday, Taft hosts No. 5 seed Kerman, 7-2 winners over Madera South on Tuesday. In the other semifinal match, No. 2 seed Immanuel, 6-3 winners over No. 7 Mira Monte, host No. 3 Chowchilla, 8-1 winners over Wasco.

The Valley finals will be played at 4 p.m. Wednesday.