KINGSBURG - Coming off a 5-4 loss against Selma to end the regular season, the Kingsburg Vikings wasted no time bouncing back in the first round of the Central Section Division IV playoffs.
On April 24, the 6-seeded Vikings defeated No. 11 Madera South 8-1 on its homecourt.
The Vikings officially clinched the win in singles by going 5-1 in dominant fashion. Kingsburg’s No. 3 through No. 6 players won their sets either by five points or a sweep.
“They came out and did what they were supposed to do,” Vikings head coach Luke Gramza said. “They were really solid, really consistent and falling through with their game plan, and yeah, I’m really proud of them. Great results, but even better play that I was looking for as their coach.”
In the No. 3 match, Ian Mosley defeated Juan Maravilla 6-1, 6-0. That match was followed by Hayden Yakligian defeating Patrick Cortez 6-1, 6-0. Then, Luke Lutrell swept both sets 6-0, 6-0 against Alexis Delgadillo in the No. 5 match.
Singles was concluded with a 6-1, 6-1 win for Kingsburg No. 6 Kaleb Campbell, who defeated Miguel Vasquez.
Vikings No. 1 Chris Gonzales played in the most competitive match of the afternoon against opposing top player Alfredo Rodriguez.
Gonzales took the first set 6-1 and won the second 7-6, which forced a tiebreaker. Gonzales clinched a victory after coming out on top 7-2 in the tiebreaker.
Kingsburg’s only singles loss occurred in the No. 2 match, which was a 3-6, 4-6 defeat for Jordan Hjelm against Diego Lopez.
For a team that has battled injuries all season long, Gramza said it “helped” to have a full squad playing in the first round matchup.
“We were able to play in a number of positions that our guys are used to playing in,” Gramza said. “They turned it around it well and learned from their loss [against Selma] and that’s all a coach could ask for when somebody makes a mistake and they learn from it.”
In doubles, the Vikings did not slow down. Gonzales and Mosley, Kingsburg’s No. 1 duo, started doubles with a 8-4 win over Rodriguez and Lopez. In the No. 2 match, Hjelm and Yakligian earned a 8-3 win for the Vikings. Hjelm and Yakligian defeated Maravilla and Vasquez.
As for the final doubles match, Kingsburg’s No. 3 pair Connor Yokota and Emmet Firkus defeated Alexis Lopez and Daniel Canela 9-7.
The Vikings advanced to the Division IV quarterfinals against No. 3 seed Roosevelt, which was played on Tuesday (after press time).
“My boys know not to care who is on the other side of the net,” Gramza said before the quarterfinals match. “We’re ready to take it to them and go play a great match and go play the next opponent.”
The winner of that match will face either No. 2 Mission Prep or No. 7 North (Bakersfield) in the semifinals on Thursday.
The Central Section Division IV championship match is scheduled to be played on May 7.