Vista tops Folsom on the courts, 7-2

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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For the first time in the program’s history, Vista del Lago’s varsity girls’ tennis team defeated Folsom.

Wednesday’s meeting at Folsom High was the second official cross-town meeting between the schools. The Bulldogs won last year’s match 6-3, but this year it was the Eagles who came away with a 7-2 victory.

“It’s the first time in the history of our program that we’ve beaten Folsom, so that’s pretty exciting,” Vista coach Marc Erwin said “I recognize they don’t have all the players out there that they could, but I don’t want to take anything away from my kids. They can only play who’s in front of them, and they took care of business.”

Folsom features a small team this year with only eight players, so Vista’s wins at No. 2 and 3 doubles came by forfeit. That said, Vista still won five of the seven matches played.

Folsom’s wins came at the top of the ladder, as Annamaria Crone and Vista’s Sofia Smith played in the most competitive match of the day. Crone got off to a fast start and took the first set 6-4, but Smith rebounded to win the second 6-3. In the tiebreaker, Crone came out on top, 10-6.

Folsom’s Ava Brown won the match at No. 2 doubles, as she defeated Ashley Allen, 6-3, 6-1.

“We had some outstanding matches, notably our two wins by Ava and Annamaria,” Folsom coach Rich Klingensmith said. “Annamaria’s match with Sofia looked like a western shootout, both of them hitting as hard as they can down-the-line and cross-court like bullets. Amazing playing.”

The Eagles dominated the rest of the matches, starting at No. 3 singles where Amanda Kidd earned a hard-fought 6-4, 6-4 win over Soulana Glass. Jillian Baker defeated Ashley Booth 6-0, 6-1 at No. 4, while Sydnee Tan defeated Faith Cyphert, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5). Vista’s Alex Elmhurst also won at No. 6 singles, beating Lucia Pulgar 6-0, 6-1.

The doubles team of Brooke Van Buskirk and Taylor Escamilla got the best of Folsom’s Varsha Pondicherry and Nitalie Biswal, 6-0, 6-0 for the first victory of the match.

 “This is a fun and competitive match that is sponsored and catered to both teams by my tennis business,” Klingensmith said. “Many of these girls went to middle school together or play tennis with each other at Broadstone. In a couple of our matches we looked a little out of sync. I’m going to do a little group warm-up before our matches to ensure quicker, smoother starts in our matches. Vista was just too strong for us this year.  They get to showcase the trophy.”

Vista, last year’s Division IV section champion, hopes to be in the running for another title again this year.

“League should be interesting this year,” Erwin said. “We have two new teams in Del Campo and Capital Christian that I know nothing about, and we’ve swapped the title with Rio Americano the past few years. They’re always super tough, and I anticipate they’ll be great again this year. Even though Rio is always so good, I enjoy having them in our league because we know if we can compete with them, we can compete with anyone in the section.”

Folsom rebounded well from the loss to the Eagles. On Thursday, the Bulldogs played host to Whitney and won an extremely competitive match, 5-4.

Crone lost a three-setter at No. 1 singles, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, while Brown blanked her opponent at No. 2, 6-0, 6-0. The rest of the singles players all won in three sets: Glass at No. 3 (6-4, 3-6, 6-1), Cyphert at No. 4 (3-6, 6-3, 6-1), Booth at No. 5 (6-4, 5-7, 6-3) and Pulgar at No. 6 (6-3, 4-6, 6-2) to give the Bulldogs the match.

“Look at those scores … amazing,” Klingensmith said. “Five, three set matches; that’s where our conditioning comes in. It was a great job and what I call a team win. The girls got a win in the toughest league in Nor-Cal with eight players, starting a nine-line match with two losses. They were tough as nails.”