By Bill Choy
Triplicate Sports Editor
The Del Norte High girls tennis team achieved an upset victory on Saturday, defeating perennial tennis power Arcata 5-4 on the road.
The Tigers have not lost a Humboldt-Del Norte Conference game since 2005 and Warrior head coach Jane Rumiano could not recall the last time Del Norte won a game against them.
The victory gives Del Norte sole possession of first in the HDNC conference with an undefeated mark.
"The Arcata team pushed our girls to play their best tennis and our girls did just that, even though they didn't win all of the matches," Rumiano said.
In the No.1 players match, the Warriors' Emma Wilson defeated Katie Erickson 6-0, 6-2.
No. 2 Rebecca Cink lost to Ashley Balke 1-6, 3-6. No. 3 Jennifer Gustafson downed Liana Mitlyng 6-4, 6-3.
Rumiano said she was proud of the effort Wilson and Gustafson gave to achieve their victories.
"Emma and Jennifer probably played the best tennis I've ever seen either of them play," Rumiano said. "They utilized their abilities to hit a variety of speeds and spins, placed the ball well, and ran down every shot their opponents hit."
Gustafson said she lost to Mitlyng last year in the semifinals of the HDNC tournament and said she was determined to do well against her on Saturday.
"It felt like I overcame a major obstacle in my playing career," she said.
No. 4 Lauren Godla of Del Norte fell to Molly Ryan 2-6, 1-6. No. 5 Ashleigh Speaker lost to Jenny Durina 5-7, 4-6. Kelsy Hintz of Del Norte lost the No 6. players match to Brianne King 6-2, 1-6, 1-6.
Down four matches to two, the Warriors took over in doubles action.
Wilson and Rebecca Cink won the first set easily 6-1, but in the second set Arcata changed tactics and slowed the game down.Emma and Rebecca were down 1-5, brought the set score back to 5-5, went ahead 6-5, then lostthe deuce point to push the set into a tie-breaker. They were down 1-5 in the tiebreaker, brought it back to 5-5, then lost 5-7.
After the 10-minute break, they came out and played more aggressively and won the third set 6-1, Rumiano said.
In the second doubles match, Rumiano said that Gustafson and Golda had a difficult match in that their opponents kept the ball in play, served well, and hit great angled shots.
"Jennifer ran down everything, and Lauren put the ball away at the net," she said"Both of them served very well, and hit great returns to set each other up at the net." The final scores were 6-4, 6-3.
In the final doubles match, Hintz and Rachel Cink came back from 15-40 to deuce, then won the final point to clinch the match for Del Norte against Durina and King 6-4, 7-5.
Rumiano said it was an exciting group of games to be a part of and said the girls are working hard to keep doing well this season
"Everyone enjoyed the competition and is anxious to work on strokes and strategies in practice this week." Rumiano said. "All of the spectators agreed that this tennis match was one of the best they've seen, as the level of play from No. 1 to No. 6, and all of the doubles were exceptional."
Today, Del Norte will play another HDNC match against North Coast Prep at home at 4 p.m. Saturday, the Warriors take on Fortuna at home at 11 a.m.
Originally the matches were to start at 10 a.m. but have been moved to 11 a.m. because of SAT tests.