Del Norte wrapped up at least a share of the 2017 Humboldt-Del Norte League girls tennis team championship on Tuesday as the Warriors picked up another lopsided victory with a 7-0 sweep of Eureka in Crescent City.
“The girls went out there, took care of business, and put it away,” said Del Norte head coach Samuel Escobar.
The win improves the Warriors to 12-0 overall this season. With two matches left in the regular season and a two-match lead in the Humboldt-Del Norte Leauge standings, Del Norte can finish no worse than tied for first.
Del Norte swept the Loggers in Eureka earlier this season, and has won seven of its 12 meets without losing a single match this season.
Although the Warriors were missing their regular No. 2 singles player, Jasmine Pearson, none of the matches against Eureka were particularly close.
“None of the kids played down to the level of skill of their opponent,” Escobar said. “A lot of the time against less-skilled kids they have a tendency to play lower than what they are capable of, but I didn’t see any of that.”
Senior Bailee Drown won the No. 1 singles match over Lauren Albertini 6-1, 6-1; Castly Thao (No. 2 singles), Diana Loban (No. 3) and Danika Scott (No. 4) all moved up a position against Eureka due to Pearson’s absence, and all three Warriors picked up 6-0, 6-0 victories without dropping a set.
“Unfortunately we were missing Jasmine Pearson, but it allowed our other girls to move up in the singles matches, and it allowed Emily Feeney to play in the No. 3 doubles,” Escobar said.
Feeney teamed up with Aliyah Rafalowski in doubles for an 8-4 victory in the No. 3 match.
“It was good to see Feeney play consistent tennis,” Escobar said. “She is still a beginner and learning how to play, but she was sound. She looked steady and consistent in her shots and she didn’t do more than she was capable of.”
Drown and Thao teamed up for the first time this season in the No. 1 doubles match for an 8-1 win over Eureka. Loban and Scott won the No. 2 doubles 8-0.
The Warriors will have a chance to wrap up the Humboldt-Del Norte League championship outright for the second year in a row on Saturday with a trip to Arcata. The last time Del Norte won back-to-back girls tennis championships was in 1998 and 1999.
Del Norte picked up an impressive 8-1 victory over the Tigers in Crescent City on Sept. 19, when Arcata was without its No. 1 singles player, Haley Hill, who missed several weeks this season.
“We still expect it to be a tough match, even though we beat them 8-1 the first time,” Escobar said. “They have talented girls in the No. 1 and No. 2 singles and their No. 1 doubles team. They gave us a hard time the first time around, and we don’t expect them to be an easy match.”
The Warriors are also starting to look ahead to the North Coast Section Team Championships, where the rules are a little bit different.
In NCS play, each team has four singles players and three doubles teams, but no player can compete in both singles and doubles. Escobar said the Warriors have been playing as many exhibition matches as possible this season as they try to decide on doubles teams to move into the varsity lineup.
“We will continue to take some extra girls to play some exhibition doubles, because we still want to finalize the No. 2 and No. 3 doubles teams for when we go down to the NCS Team Championships,” Escobar said.
Escobar said Feeney and Vanessa Vongphachan have stood out in exhibition matches so far, and will likely be one of the doubles teams if the team competes in the NCS Tournament.
Reach Michael Zogg at firstname.lastname@example.org.