Taft hands Tehachapi a 6-3 loss

TEHACHAPI — The Taft High varsity girls’ tennis team won its season opener, 6-3, over Division II Tehachapi on Thursday.   

Likewise, Taft’s JV team beat Tehachapi, 7-2, in its home opener.

“It was a great start for both Taft teams,” varsity coach Jim Carnal said. “Tehachapi has a solid tennis program so beating the Warriors portends well for the season. Next up is Independence on Thursday. I think the Falcons are even better than Tehachapi and predict that they will win Division IV in the Valley.

“Tehachapi had a very good No. 1 in returner Ashley Rush and a solid No. 2 in Taylor Cummings. Their new coach, Natalie Franchere, who had been their JV coach, played their top two girls at No. 1 doubles and the pair accounted for all of Tehachapi’s points.”

 In a battle of seniors at No 1 singles, Rush beat Gloria Okafor, 6-2, 6-3. At No. 2 singles, Cummings, a junior, beat senior Jen Rivera, 6-3, 6-2. Taft swept the rest of the singles matches. Senior Tory Parkinson beat a tall and athletic freshman, Eileen Rooney, 6-3, 6-4. On her 15th birthday, freshman Anneca Taylor, the daughter of Taft’s JV coaches Doug and Val Taylor, came from behind to beat first-year player Maranda Malishka in a marathon match, 2-6, 7-6 (7-4), 10-6.

In a battle of seniors, Cooper Mainard beat Isabel Tinajero, 6-3, 6-4. And, in a match of sophomores, Kira Swope made quick work of lefty, Rajeen Pitts, 6-2, 6-1.

Leading 4-2 after singles and needing just one point to win, Carnal put his top two players in the bottom two doubles matches. At No. 1 doubles, Rush and Cummings were too experienced for second-year players Parkinson and Swope, beating them, 6-1, 6-2. But Taft won the other doubles. Okafor and senior Willow Owen bageled senior Megan Valant and sophomore Daniela Tinajero, 6-0, 6-0. At No. 3 doubles, Rivera and sophomore Kelsey Rushing beat freshman Nancy Martinez and sophomore Taya Sheen, 6-0, 6-4.

In the JV match, Taft, playing with seven freshmen in the top nine spots, swept the top five singles matches. At No. 1, freshman Zayn Herrera beat Kaitlyn Ehrlich, 6-2, 6-3. Freshman Leighton May beat Evelyn Yang, 6-3, 6-2. Senior Luzelena Cisneros beat Alexis Adams, 6-3, 6-1. Freshman Brisa Guizar came from behind to beat Lily Dean, 5-7, 7-6 (7-4), 10-5.

Freshman Dariana Calderon beat Whitney Johnson, 6-0, 6-2. At No. 6, Taft freshman Yuvia Woggn lost to Rebecca Sebra, 6-1, 6-0.

At No. 1 doubles, in an eight-game pro set, Herrera and May beat Ehrlich and Yang, 8-3. Cisneros and senior Yesenia Leon, a beginner, of Taft, lost to Adams and Dean, 8-6. Taft freshmen Hanna Covington and Alondra Cisneros beat Kathy Meza and Lindsey Jones, 8-3.

On Thursday, at 3:30 p.m., Taft’s JV hosts the Independence Falcons, while the varsity team travels there.