Taft tennis team dedicates match to Kelsey Meadows, knocks off Kerman to advance to Valley finals

KERMAN — On Wednesday, the Taft High varsity girls’ tennis handily beat the No. 2 seed Kerman Lions, 8-1, to advance to the Division IV Valley finals against No. 1 seed Central Valley Christian in Visalia Wednesday, Nov. 1.
Taft, the No. 3 seed, improved to 23-5, Kerman finished its season at 19-2.    
“The Taft players wrote the initials ‘KM’ on their wrists, did a pregame cheer and dedicated the game to Kelsey Meadows, the Taft High graduate and long-time substitute teacher killed by the Las Vegas sniper Oct. 1,” coach Carnal said. “The girls were inspired to play their best and did.
“We also had more team depth. Kerman had not played any tough teams. Their loss was to Selma and we had beaten Selma earlier. Our five losses were two to Division I Bakersfield Christian, one to Division I Liberty and two to Division II powerhouse Bakersfield High. That stiff competition is paying dividends in the playoffs,” Carnal said. Kerman’s No. 1 player had not played anyone as good as Leighton May, the South Sequoia League champion who had beaten the best player from 10 different high schools this season.”
May made it number 11 with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Jennifer Ramirez. At No. 2, Dariana Calderon rallied to beat Alyssa Aguilar, 5-7, 7-5, 10-7. It was all Taft in the rest of the singles. Brisa Guizar was steadier than Marianna Herrera, 6-2, 6-0. Diana Huizar was the first one off the court with a double breadstick win over Cadi Sauceda, 6-1, 6-1. In the most lopsided match, Elizabeth Huizar beat Odalis Camacho, 6-1, 6-0. And Cielo Woggn beat Robyn Huber, 6-3, 6-4.
Both teams had two doubles teams that qualified for their respective area tournaments, Taft in the south and Kerman in the north. So the top two doubles matches were very competitive. May and Guizar outlasted Ramirez and Sauceda, 8-7 (7-3). Kerman earned its point at No. 2 doubles when Nos. 2 and 3 Silva and Cisneros got by No. 4 Diana Huizar and No. 8 Yuvia Woggn, 8-6. At 3 doubles, Rosa Silva and Alondra Cisneros dispatched Kaitlyn Heslep and Alissa Ortiz, 8-3.
In the other semifinal, CVC beat the No. 4 seed Woodlake Tigers, 5-4.