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SELMA - In a rivalry matchup between two teams looking to climb in the Central Sequoia League standings, the Vikings defeated the Bears 6-3 in a match that ended under the lights on Selma’s homecourt on Thursday, Sept. 26.

Kingsburg improved to 7-3 overall and 5-1 in CSL play while Selma dropped to 5-6 overall and 4-2 in league.

“They played well,” Vikings head coach Tom Gramza said about his team’s performance. “They’ve been working hard and it’s nice to see a payoff. Selma played tough, our girls played tough, so it was good. It was a good day of competition.”

The Vikings gained the upper hand after No. 3 Hannah Hjelm came on top in a competitive match that ended in a tiebreaker against Dashrit Pandher. Hjelm defeated Pandher 7-6, 5-7, (10-8) in a match that lasted approximately two hours and 35 minutes. The length of the match caused for doubles to take place under Selma’s lights. The Vikings took a 4-2 lead in singles and proceeded to win the No. 1 and No. 2 doubles matches to claim the win.

As for the No. 3 singles match, both coaches said their girls competed well in the match.

“We haven't had a late match like that in a while,” Selma head coach David Cortina said about the No. 3 match. “I would have loved for her to come out on top, but it’s okay.”

“Hannah is that kind of player,” Gramza said. “Even in the Valley finals last year, she was playing a tricky opponent and she doesn’t rattle. She’s rock solid and it was really good to see. Her opponent was tough. They had a lot of long tough rallies and it was just a matter of mental toughness.”

In another pivotal singles match, Kingsburg No. 1 Margaud Gales handed Selma’s Emily Sanchez’s first loss of the season in a 6-0, 6-3 final. Gales extended her undefeated record to 9-0 while Sanchez is 10-1.

“Margaud is tough to play,” Gramza said. “She zigs when they think she’s going zag. She’s unpredictable and she has a lot of variety and owns a lot of shots.”

No. 2 Alina Lopez and No. 5 Anahi Soto were victorious for the Bears with the former winning 6-2, 6-1 over Zoey Van Buerden and the latter coming on top 6-4, 7-5 over Katie Tikkamen.

Ekpreet Virk of the Vikings defeated Chloe Mendoza 6-0, 6-1 in the No. 4 match while Kingsburg’s Megan Stahl won 6-0, 6-4 over Sega Moreno.

“The main thing is learning from our mistakes, not just doing the same thing and wondering why it’s not working or getting frustrated with ourselves,” Cortina said about Selma’s performance. “It’s just learning from our mistakes and honing our skills and what our strengths are and not focusing so much on losing.”

In doubles, Gales and Van Buerden defeated Sanchez and Pandher 8-2 in the No. 1 match and Hjlem and Virk had a 8-4 victory over Lopez and Soto.

Selma’s No. 3 duo Elizabeth Gonzalez and Anna Armstrong came out on top 8-5 over Ahleena Coolidge and Abby Pettit.

“It’s a good rivalry to have, especially when we have two private schools in our league,” Cortina said. “It’s tough, but we always know that Kingsburg is always good competition no matter what.”

Heading into the rivalry match, both teams had only league loss was to Central Valley Christian, who holds first place with a 5-0 CSL record. Overall, the Cavaliers are 12-1.

Selma entered the second round of league one home matchup against CVC on Tuesday (after press time). As for Kingsburg, the Vikings began the second round of the CSL schedule against Immanuel on the road on Tuesday.

On Thursday, the Bears will take on CSL opponent Dinuba on the road while the Vikings will host Hanford West in a league match. After, Selma will host Hanford West on Oct. 8 while Kingsburg will head to Dinuba on Oct. 10.

The rival schools will face off again at Kingsburg in the regular season finale on Oct. 22.

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Jeremiah Martinez can be reached at 559-583-2413 or jmartinez@hanfordsentinel.com

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