SELMA - The No. 4 seeded Selma High girls tennis team dominated on the court defeating the No. 13 seed Liberty (Madera Ranchos) High School 7-2 on Oct. 18 in the first round of the CIF Central Section Division III playoffs.
Selma had an impressive day in singles, claiming the playoff victory after a 5-0 lead. Bears head coach David Cortina was relieved after his team clinched an early win.
“That took all the pressure off,” Cortina said. “Then it was just fine tuning the little things in doubles matches, but if we could win in singles, we’re perfect.”
Selma officially claimed the victory after No. 2 player Alina Lopez defeated Lindsay Noble in a 10-1 tiebreaker. Lopez lost the first set 4-6 before forcing a tiebreaker with a 6-1 victory in the second.
“My mindset was that I have to try my best, I have to win,” Lopez said. “If I win, that means I could carry my team to a different level.”
Bears’ No. 6 player Tammana Aujia also had a match that went to a tiebreaker, but she fell to Scottie Tovsrud 5-7, 6-4, (2-10).
As for the other Selma individuals, No. 1 Rachel Vieira won in dominating fashion defeating Kaleigh Hunt 6-2, 6-1.
“Heading into the playoffs, my mindset was just focus on my strokes that I’ve been learning during the season,” Vieira said. “Just keeping a consistent pace and keeping the right mindset where anything could happen. My goal is to win.”
It was Vieira’s first match coming off of claiming an individual championship in the Central Sequoia League tournament.
Vieira defeated Immanuel’s Grace Goertzen, who defeated the Selma senior twice in league play this season, to claim the CSL individual title. Vieira’s match against Goertzen resulted in 6-4, 4-6, (10-8) and it spanned for three hours.
“It was a great match,” Vieira said. “It was three hours, it was long, but we both fought hard and it came down to whoever got those extra points. It happened to be me.”
Vieira will compete at the CIF Individual tournament on Oct. 26. She will be joined by her teammates Lopez, Emily Sanchez and Analyssa Gomez. Vieira and Sanchez will compete in singles, while Lopez and Gomez will pair up in doubles.
The No. 3 singles match was the first to be concluded on Oct. 18. The match resulted in Selma’s Emily Sanchez defeating Sirat Kaur 6-0, 6-0.
Bears’ No. 4 player Dashirt Pandher won 6-1, 6-1 over Jasmin Areano while Gomez was victorious for Selma, winning 6-2, 6-2 against Valeria Corpus in the No. 5 match.
Since Selma officially claimed the victory in singles, Cortina decided to mix and match his duos.
He said doubles is the weakness of the team and he wanted to pair up girls with different partners to see who has the best chemistry together.
“It’s just experimenting, seeing who is a good pair,” Cortina said. “Just because they’re friends off the court doesn’t mean they’ll be friends on the court.”
Doubles was played in eight game point sets and Selma was victorious in the No. 2 and No. 3 matches. Vieira and Sega Moreno won the No. 2 match 8-1, while Sanchez and Alejandra Mendoza were victorious in the No. 3 match 8-4.
Vieira and Sanchez made up Selma’s No. 1 duo for majority of this season, while Moreno and Mendoza were the team’s No. 3 duo.
“There’s still more we need to improve on,” Cortina said. “Doubles has gotten better as league has progressed, but it’s still our greatest weakness that we need to correct.”
The Bears will host 12th-seeded Porterville in the quarterfinals on Oct. 23 at 3 p.m. If Selma wins, they’ll face No. 9 Mission Prep or top-seeded Corcoran in the semifinals on Oct. 31.