Vista avenges last year's loss with win over American Canyon

By: Staff Report
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Waiting one full year to exact revenge, the Vista del Lago girls’ tennis team showed no mercy to American Canyon in its Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV quarterfinal Tuesday.

The Eagles romped 9-0 to send home the team that eliminated them from the section tournament last year. Vista del Lago (12-8) next plays Vanden at 2 p.m. Tuesday in the section semifinal.

“We were extremely motivated,” Vista coach Marc Erwin said. “They said some not-so-flattering things about us in their local paper after that match last year, and I made sure the girls knew exactly how little they thought of us. All credit to American Canyon last year – they beat us fair and square – but to insinuate that my kids were mentally weak was really insulting.”

The Wolves upset Vista 5-4 last year by sweeping all three doubles matches, even though the Eagles had a few match points in a third-set tiebreaker at No. 2 doubles. This year, they made sure a good bounce or two would have nothing to do with the outcome.

No. 1 singles player Sofia Smith stormed to a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Yanci Yanez, and No. 2 Ashley Allen turned around the match she lost last year to Amber Monteleone, 6-3, 6-3. Senior Regan Martell breezed through her match 6-0, 6-2 in less than a half-hour.

And this time, the doubles teams were ready. The teams of Sara Howlett/Taylor Escamilla and Ellie Nguyen/Sophia Ammons won in straight sets, while Camila Wyatt and Brooke Van Buskirk overcame a second-set hiccup to win the third set 6-0.

“We didn’t have our doubles teams prepared enough last year, and I take the blame for that,” Erwin said. “We knew when we got to this point of the season those duos were going to be the key to the team’s overall success. We’ve prepared extremely hard to be sure we’re solid from top to bottom so that what happened last year never happens again.”

Perhaps the most impressive win of the day went to freshman No. 3 Jillian Baker. She lost the first set, but came back with a new attitude and aggression to pull out a 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 decision.

“Honestly, Jillian has been struggling the second half the season, and I was thrilled to see her fight for it,” Erwin said. “She really wanted it, and she went out there and grabbed it instead of just letting the inevitable happen.”

Sydnee Tan and Alex Elmhurst won their singles matches to finish off the sweep.

In the Sac-Joaquin Section individual championships, Smith was awarded the No. 3 seed and advanced to the Division II semifinals with two victories over players from McClatchy and River City on Thursday at Johnson Ranch in Roseville. She plays in the semifinals Monday against No. 2 seed Kaira Bernaldez of Ponderosa.

“They train together at Rollingwood, so it should be a fun, relaxed atmosphere,” Erwin said. “They’ll both be trying to win, but it’ll be enjoyable.”