Los Banos High’s tennis team finished its season strong on Wednesday with a 6-3 victory over Livingston to cap a two-match win streak.
“They were very excited about winning yesterday because they lost to them the first time, 6-3,” Los Banos coach Lynn Barcellos said. “I was missing a few players the first time we played them, but I think it was just more practicing and moving certain people, like Tyler (Cicairos) moved up to singles, and he won all five singles matches he played. Having Steve (Georgiou) made a difference. He had track on certain days. It makes a difference when everybody’s there.”
The Tigers won four of the six singles matches, with J.T. Barcellos winning at No. 1, Luke Sanchez winning at No. 3, Georgiou victorious at No. 5 and Cicairos at No. 6. The doubles teams of Jesse Hernandez/Chris Lonetree (No. 2) and Jonas Toscano/Anthony Flores (No. 3) also won their matches.
Despite finishing with a 5-7 record and tying for fourth place – and out of the Western Athletic Conference’s playoff slots (which go to the top three teams) – the Tigers finished with a better record than a year ago, when they went 3-9. The team benefited from an influx of athletes who play other sports in other seasons (even some who play other sports in the same season, as with Geogiou and J.T. Barcellos, who plays golf).
“They really did (make a difference),” Lynn said. “I wish I had Darren Baty more than this year, Chris Lonetree, a lot of those guys told me they wish they started their freshman year, because they are good players for not having played before. They have the athleticism and the ability to adapt.”
A few players will still play in the WAC singles and doubles tournaments on April 30 and May 2 in Modesto. J.T. Barcellos, who went 10-2 this year in the No. 1 sinlges spot, will take one of the two spots allotted to the team. The other will go to the winner of a playoff among several players.
“A few of them will play each other to see who plays,” Lynn said. “It’s pretty intense, because there’s one spot for about three guys.”
Looking to next year, the Tigers may once again rely on an influx of inexperienced players, with only Sanchez, Georgiou, Thomas King, Jack Gerstenberg and Thomas Lemos returning.
“We’ll definitely have to recruit more kids next year,” Barcellos said.