HANFORD — Hanford and Hanford West matched up for the second and final time this season — as well as the final time ever as rivals in the West Yosemite League.
It was the Hanford girls tennis team who got to rejoice one last time as they walked into enemy territory and came away with a 7-2 victory on Wednesday.
“Our team has been improving little by little,” Hanford coach Alex Ibarra said. “They stayed consistent throughout the games and they were able to win again, so it was better.”
The finale saw Hanford (2-8, 2-7 WYL) take four of six singles matches and all three doubles matches for their seven points.
But it was Hanford West (0-10, 0-10 WYL) who got out in front early with a 6-4, 6-1 singles win by No. 1 singles player Andrea Cuevas. The momentum was short lived and stalled soon after with close matches tipping towards the Bullpups.
No. 2 singles player McKennah Miller swept her match 6-0, 6-0, No. 3 singles player Emily Reinhart won 6-0, 6-2 and No. 5 singles player Alexa Ibarra won 6-2, 6-1.
No. 4 singles player Sadie Avila had to work a little harder for her match as it went to a tiebreaker, which she pulled out in the end to win 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), (10-4).
“All of it is due to the confidence they had from winning the last time [the team faced Hanford West],” Ibarra said. “When you win, you come in with a different mentality because you’re more confident in your shots and you take a little more risk and you go for it a little bit more.”
In doubles, Hanford took a clean sweep of the three matches, winning 8-3, 8-6, 8-6. Kaylee Bristol and Alexa Ibarra, the No. 2 doubles team, took the 8-6 victory, but not before Hanford West tried to mount a comeback.
Leading 7-3, Hanford West made it close, but Bristol and Alexa were able to come through by continuing to volley the ball to each side of the court.
“We were really good at hitting the volleys over short so they wouldn’t be able to run up fast enough to hit it back,” Bristol said.
On being able to close out the doubles set, Bristol said they stuck to their strategy and wanted to get the other team tired by making them run back and forth.
Hanford West No. 6 singles player Nat Zazueta had one of the bright spots for the team with her close victory 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, (10-8).
“I just pulled whatever I had left,” Zazueta said about the tiebreaker. “It was just a lot of adrenaline because nobody likes losing.”
Hanford West coach Randy Guevara applauded his girls’ effort and encouraged them as they came off the court.
“They’re just not putting together yet, but I think, I see on the horizon, that we are putting some matches together,” Guevara said. “We are improving substantially, especially on paper, and I’m looking forward to our next match.”
Hanford took the first meeting on Sept. 5 with a 6-3 win. This was the final match between the two teams since Hanford West will be moving to the East Sequoia League next season.
For their next opponent, Hanford and Hanford West will both face Mt. Whitney (3-7, 2-6 WYL). The Huskies face them on Monday and the Bullpups get them on Wednesday. Both matches start at 4 p.m.