It’s all about the t-shirts.
For the third year in a row, the Vista del Lago High School girls’ tennis team won its bracket at the California Classic in Fresno, beating Frontier-Bakersfield on a tiebreaker in a match that ended 3-3.
Although they lost their match, the doubles team of Alex Elmhurst and Sophia Ammons split sets with their Frontier opponents to clinch the victory for the Eagles by virtue of a 7-6 margin in sets won.
And that meant championship T-shirts for the Eagles.
“I honestly think they’re more motivated by the free stuff they can win than the tennis itself,” Eagles coach Marc Erwin said, “But seriously, they played great all weekend. When I saw how the Frontier coach set his lineup, I knew we were going to win all three singles matches, but probably lose all three doubles matches. As that started becoming clear, I went to all of our doubles teams to tell them I didn’t care if they won their match, but they needed to win as many games as possible in case there was a tiebreaker. Those doubles teams really knuckled down and fought for every game, and when Alex and Sophia won that set, we knew we had it.”
Vista, now 7-2 this season, dominated singles play. No. 1 Sofia Smith won 6-0, 6-0, No. 2 Ashley Allen won 6-3, 6-2 and No. 3 Amanda Kidd won 6-0, 6-1.
Overall, the Eagles went 4-1 in the tournament, going 2-1 in pool play before winning both matches in their championship bracket Saturday.
“We gained a lot of great experience,” said Erwin, whose team is the defending Division 4 Sac-Joaquin Section champion. “We had three freshmen join us for the tournament, and it was great to see them play real matches and be successful.”
Kidd, one of those three freshmen, won both of her matches Saturday. The freshman doubles team of Nivi Sudhir Kumar and Megan Tran went 2-2 over the weekend, including a crucial victory in Friday’s opening match against Newbury Park that helped win another tiebreaker.
In addition to Newbury Park and Frontier, the Eagles beat Bakersfield Christian and Bella Vista. They also lost to McClatchy in Friday’s pool play.