KINGSBURG - For either Kingsburg and Selma to pull off a win on the court, it would come down to doubles.
The Vikings won one of three doubles matches, but Kingsburg pulled off a 5-4 defeat over the Bears on March 19.
Selma needed to win all three doubles matches to win.
Kingsburg No. 1 duo Chris Velasquez and Hayden Yakligian defeated Darpreet Dhillon and Simran Bains 8-5 to claim the victory.
“We just didn’t play like we normally do,” Bains said about his and Dhillon's loss. “We’re a lot better. We just didn’t play up to our standards.”
The Vikings and Bears came into the match with a 4-1 Central Sequoia League record. With the second round of league play underway, a win would’ve likely boost either team’s chances of contending for a league title.
Heading into the matchup, Selma and Kingsburg both loss to Central Valley Christian. As of press time, Kingsburg is 6-1 in CSL play while Selma is 4-3.
“Selma came out and played consistent tennis,” Vikings coach Luke Gramza said. “Some of our matches, we had to rise above and change up the game plan and adapt.”
Gramza is running the program an interim basis while current head coach Tom Gramza - Luke’s father - is out due to health issues. Luke Gramza said there is no timetable for his father’s return.
In singles, the Vikings No. 1, 2, and 3 players wasted no time in gaining the upper hand for their team. Each player won both sets in their matches to give the team a 3-0 lead.
Velasquez defeated Dhillon 6-2, 6-2 in the No. 1 match. No. 2 Ian Mosley defeated Fidel Felix 6-1, 6-2 followed by Yakligian gaining a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Bains in the No. 3 match.
For Velasquez, he said his win came down to his mechanics.
“I was hitting well today,” Velasquez said. “My serves were working, groundstrokes, and slice shots [were working.]”
Dhillon said he could’ve played “better” in both his singles and doubles matches.
“I was messing up on simple things like my forehand,” Dhillion said about his singles loss. “It was mainly my backhand. He got good angles on me.”
The only singles victories for Selma were in the No. 4 and 6 matches. Jake Harris defeated Luke Latrell 6-3, 6-4 in the No. 4 match and Amit Dadra defeated Oven Miller 6-1, 6-0 in the No. 6 match.
In the most competitive match, Caleb Campbell of Kingsburg defeated Mahlab Gill 1-6, 6-3, (10-8) in the No. 5 match.
One of the standout performances for the Vikings was Latrell, who was playing with an injury throughout the entirely of his match. The No. 4 match between was the longest in singles, lasting over two hours.
“He fought hard,” Luke Gramza said about Latrell. “That’s a tough match. Those two were very evenly match and I’m proud of him for going out there and playing his heart out. Luttrell always goes out there and gives it his all.”
Lutrell is one of Kingsburg’s players dealing with an injury. Vikings usual No. 2 player Jordan Helms suffered an injury early in the season. With Helms out, Luke Gramza was forced to shift the entire lineup in the No. 2-6 singles spots.
With over a month left in the regular season, the Vikings are in contention for a league title while the Bears are playing for a playoff berth.
Selma head coach David Cortina said his team will have to finish strong if they have playoff aspirations.
“Hopefully, we could repeat our win against Immanuel [from this season],” Cortina said. “Then take a win against Kingsburg in the second round like we did last year.”
On March 21, the Vikings defeated Immanuel 5-4 at home. On the same day, the Bears played in Visalia against CVC in a 9-0 loss.
Kingsburg last played against Hanford West on the road on Tuesday (after press time). Selma also played on Tuesday against Dinuba at home.
The Vikings will head to Dinuba on Thursday to take on the Emperors. As for the Bears, the team will play on the road against the Hanford West Huskies on Thursday.
Kingsburg and Selma will compete against each other in the regular season finale on April 10.