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.
andquot;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,andquot; 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.
andquot;Emma and Jennifer probably played the best tennis I've ever seen either of them play,andquot; Rumiano said. andquot;They utilized their abilities to hit a variety of speeds and spins, placed the ball well, and ran down every shot their opponents hit.andquot;
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.
andquot;It felt like I overcame a major obstacle in my playing career,andquot; 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.
andquot;Jennifer ran down everything, and Lauren put the ball away at the net,andquot; she saidandquot;Both of them served very well, and hit great returns to set each other up at the net.andquot; 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
andquot;Everyone enjoyed the competition and is anxious to work on strokes and strategies in practice this week.andquot; Rumiano said. andquot;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.andquot;
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.