KINGSBURG — The Kingsburg girls tennis team is one match away from making its second straight Valley championship appearance.
In the quarterfinals of the CIF Central Section Division V playoffs, the No. 2- seeded Vikings dominated on their home court sweeping the 10th-seeded Desert High Scorpions 9-0 on Oct. 23.
Kingsburg will host No. 6 seed Mission Oak on Wednesday in the semifinals of the Division V playoffs.
The quarterfinals match against Desert High was the Vikings’ first match in 13 days since the regular season finale against Selma on Oct 10. Kingsburg had a first round bye in the playoffs.
“Our girls were putting together good shot combinations and they focused well,” Vikings head coach Tom Gramza said. “They played the game like we talked about. So I was real happy about how the singles went.”
When it comes to the lineup and seeding, Gramza said this year’s team is different than last year’s Valley championship team.
Last season, Kingsburg was the No. 9 seed in Division V and upset No. 2 seed Dos Palos in the quarterfinals and top-seeded Firebaugh in the title match.
Three of the Vikings top six players from last season aren't on the team this year.
No longer the underdog, Gramza said he wants the girls to “keep pushing it” and compete well when facing lower seeded teams.
“[We can’t] get complacent or lazy and ignore the seeding,” Gramza said. “Seedings can be deceiving at this level. We don’t play the seeding, we play the players.”
In singles, the No. 2 match was one of the first to be concluded with Kingsburg’s Madelynn Gunland defeating Amber Fudala 6-1, 6-1.
Going into the match, Gunland said it was important for her to stay calm throughout which helped her focus on the court.
“It’s a lot better when you’re calm,” Gunland said. “When you get worked up, you just don’t do good and you lose.”
Other singles victories for the Vikings included No. 1 player Zoey Van Buerden winning 6-0, 6-2 over Emma McVay.
“I was happy with my match and how I played,” Van Buerden said. “I hit good shots and I tried to come in and try new stuff since we’ve been working on new shots at practice.”
For No. 4 player Ekpreet Virk, her match was the final one to be concluded in singles. Virk won 6-4, 6-0 over Ashley Rice to finish the singles sweep.
Virk said she didn’t like her performance in the first set, which made her change her hitting technique heading into the second.
“In the first set, I wasn’t really dropping my racket, then I was crowding [at the net] a lot,” Virk said. “In the second set, I let the ball come to me more and made sure I dropped my racket.”
Kingsburg will look to advance to the Division V title match when the Vikings host No. 6 seed Mission Oak in the semifinals on Oct. 31.
The Mission Oak Hawks narrowly defeated No. 14 seed Golden Valley in a 5-4 win in the quarterfinals.
If Kingsburg wins, the girls will either face No. 5 seed Fresno Christian or top-seeded Firebaugh for the second-straight season in the title match on Nov. 6.