By Bill Choy
Triplicate Sports Editor
CRESCENT CITY For the second time this season, the Del Norte High girls tennis team defeated perennial Big 5 Conference power Arcata.
After downing them in Humboldt County in September, the Warriors won Tuesday at home 6-3.
The win all but seals the Big 5 title for the first time since 1998 for Del Norte, which improved to 10-0 in the conference.
Today, the Warriors travel to face Eureka in a make-up match. The game was canceled last week due to rain, as was a match with McKinleyville. It has not yet been decided if that match will be rescheduled or not.
"We're all really excited about winning the league championship," head coach Jane Rumiano said. "But we have a match tomorrow against Eureka, so we want to concentrate on that at the moment. Personally, I'm thrilled that we've won the championship, but I'm really happy to see how far the girls have progressed as tennis players."
Rumiano added that four of the top seven members of the team just started to play tennis this year after having previously been members of the volleyball team.
Emma Wilson, the No. 1 player for Del Norte, started things out on the right foot in front of a good sized turnout at the high school tennis courts by beating Katie Erickson 6-2, 6-0.
Rebecca Cink, the No. 2 player for the Warriors, defeated Ashley Balke 6-2, 6-1.
"Emma and Rebecca played outstanding tennis," Rumiano said. "Not because they won, but because they dictated how the points were played and never let themselves be forced into playing a defensive strategy. The rest of the team had great moments when they needed them, especially in the doubles matches."
Jennifer Gustafson, the No. 3 for Del Norte, lost to Liana Mitlyng 1-6, 4-6.
No. 4 Lauren Godla lost her match to Tiger Molly Ryan 1-6. 4-6.
The No. 5 match was a tough one that went five sets, as Warrior Ashleigh Speaker lost to Jenny Durina 6-7 (5-7) 4-6, 6-7, (2-7).
In the No. 6 match, Kelsey Hintz of Del Norte won against Brianne King 7-5, 6-4.
In doubles play, the team of Wilson and Cink defeated Erickson and Mitlyng 8-5. Hintz and Rachel Cink took care of Durina and King 8-4.
In the first match between the two teams on Sept. 29, Del Norte defeated Arcata 5-4 to hand them their first conference loss since 2005.
Rumiano commended her team for their sportsmanship and the respect they showed Arcata on Tuesday.
"I'm proud of my team for showing such class as winnersthey were that before they ever walked off the court." she said.
Rumiano added she has tremendous respect for her team and is "honored to be their coach."
"Their work ethic, athleticism, intelligence, enthusiasm and willingness to try new skills and strategies that are new to them have been the keys to their success as individuals and as a group," Rumiano said.