SELMA - It’s been a tough start to the season for the Selma girls tennis team.

After the Bears drop four singles matches and two doubles matches, Selma fell 6-3 to the Kerman Lions on its homecourt on Thursday Aug. 22. The Bears dropped to 0-3 to begin the season.

During the first three matches, Selma No. 1 Emily Sanchez and No. 2 Alina Lopez have been the team’s bright spots so far. Both girls are 3-0 in singles to begin the year. Sanchez defeated Lions No. 1 Codi Sauceda 8-1 while Lopez came on top 8-3 over opposing No. 2 Robynn Huber. All matches were played in pro sets of 8 due to the excessive heat.

Sanchez’s previous matches resulted in a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Reedley’s Jennifer Gordillo on Aug. 20 and a 8-6 win over Tulare Western’s Laura Spellman on Aug. 21.

In Lopez’s previous matches, she was victorious over Reedley’s Victoria Jaime in a 6-2, 6-1 final and she had an 8-5 win over Tulare Western’s Liliana Silveira.

As for as her match against Sauceda, Sanchez said she played good compared to her previous outings.

“I moved my feet a lot more,” Sanchez said. “I did my simple shots, I fixed what I made mistakes on in my other games.”

Sanchez was the Bears No. 3 last season and one of the things she worked on to become the No. 1 player was her mentality.

“I just focused a lot more, I worked harder,” Sanchez said. “I just tried to get better and better.”

Despite Sanchez’s success in singles, she and her partner Dashrit Pandher fell 7-8, (9-1) against Sauceda and Huber in doubles. The No. 1 duo is 1-2 so far this season.

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As for Lopez, she thought her singles performance against Huber was “good” and added that she’s off to a better start this season than last year.

“I started hitting harder for my serves,” Lopez said. “That’s where I got a lot of my points from.”

Lopez was also victorious in doubles, clinching an 8-5 win with her partner Chloe Mendoza in the No. 2 match. They defeated Huber and Isabel Ortiz.

Despite the team’s tough start to the season, Sanchez and Lopez remain optimistic for a successful 2019 campaign.

“My expectations as a team this season is for us to try our best every game and leave it all on the court, no matter if we win or lose,” Sanchez said.

“I expect us to move our feet more and get more consistent, so we could win as a team more often,” Lopez said.

The Bears last played Fresno High at home on Tuesday (after press time).

Up next

Selma (0-3) will aim for improvement when the Bears face Chowchilla on the road on Thursday. After, Selma will play on the road against Mt. Whitney on Sept. 3. The Bears will start Central Sequoia League play against Central Valley Christian - the reigning league champions - on Sept. 5.

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

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