The Pacheco High tennis team took a big step last Thursday, defeating Livingston 5-4 for the first win in the program’s three years.
“I think it’s a great confidence booster, because if you’re always the underdog, you kind of need that little push to know that you’re OK,” first-year Pacheco coach Jaclyn Silva said. “There’s about four teams I’d say that are pretty even. There are two outliers that kick our butts, but it’s good when we get to play the ones that we have a chance.”
Pacheco’s five points came Bianey Gaxiola’s 6-3, 6-3 win over Jasdeep Bassi at No. 2 singles, Kristen Palmer’s win over Taranpreet Kaur by injury default at No. 3 singles, Irian Islas’ 6-0, 6-3 win over Maggie Mendoza at No. 4, Vanessa Salazar’s 6-4, 6-3 win over Maria Vera at No. 5, and a win by No. 1 doubles team Ruth Ramirez and Kayla Ayala, 7-6, 6-4 over Arneet Uppal and Elisa Armenta.
Two of the matches the Panthers lost went to third sets, with Jackie Carranza dropping a 6-3, 1-6, 3-6 loss to Marbella Mascorro at No. 1 singles, and at No. 3 doubles, Livingston’s Cynthia Frias and Claudia Esquivel needed a tiebreaker to defeat Leilani Cano and Emily Wheeler 6-2, 3-6 (10-4).
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“The new players are getting better at playing the game and the scoring. The more experienced players are getting better at diagnosing what they need to change,” Silva said. “I don’t know if that’s because I always tell them what it is and so they’re starting to get that vocabulary in their head – ‘Oh, I need to toss my serve higher,’ because I’ll be like, ‘What are we going to do next time?’ And they’re getting better at it.
“This one knows she needs to turn her body. This one here knows she needs to toss her serve higher, because that’s what I’m constantly drilling into her. And they’re getting more successful at it, and that’s what I need them to do.”
The Panthers weren’t as successful in Wednesday’s home match against Central Valley, dropping a 7-2 decision, with wins by Palmer, 6-2, 6-0, over CV’s Naomi Torres, and a three-set win by Perla Jimenez, 6-1, 2-6, 6-2, over Teresa Diaz at No. 6 singles. Gaxiola’s No. 3 singles match went to a third set as well, and CV’s Jadah Jackson won the tiebreaker 7-4 after the third set tied 6-6. Gaxiola took the first set 6-1, and Jackson responded by winning the second set 6-2.
One lesson the Panthers have taken from their new coach is to be more aggressive.
“I took from my experience, because when I played, I would always hit it back to the person, and they would make me run, which wore me out,” Silva said. “But I would hit it right back to them. I don’t want my girls to do that, so something we always practice is corners – you need to make her move. Do not let her sit there, make her earn it. I don’t care if she beats you, but she better have earned it. You better not just give it to her.”
LB streak hits 40
The Los Banos tennis team’s 8-1 win over Ceres pushed the Tigers’ league win streak in the Western Athletic Conference to 40. LB has not lost a league match since joining the WAC.
Ceres’ Marifer Ochoa, who has been in the WAC singles championship match the last three years, was the only Ceres player to notch a win, 6-1, 6-1 over Nicole Marchese at No. 1 singles. None of the other Ceres singles player took more than three games off their Los Banos opponent.
The doubles matches were closer, but the Tigers still swept all three, with Amanda Marchese and Marelee Garcia’s 7-5, 6-4 win over Ceres’ Nicole Nicholson and Gianna Giovanni coming the closest.