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SELMA - The No. 4-seeded Selma girls tennis team fell short of playing for a Valley championship after losing 5-1 to No. 9-seed Mission Prep on Oct. 31 in the CIF Central Section Division III semifinals.

The match ended after singles due to Mission Prep traveling two hours from San Luis Obispo and claiming the win in singles.

Except for the No. 2 match, all Selma players lost in the first set, which played a significant factor in the loss, according to Bears head coach David Cortina.

“A lot of the girls seemed like they were trying, but they were trying too hard,” Cortina said. “So in the second set they really settled down and started playing their tennis.”

Selma No. 1 player Rachel Vieira played one of her toughest matches of the season against Avery Munster, losing 2-6, 7-5, (13-11).

In the tiebreaker, Vieira and Munster traded points back and forth until the latter led 12-11. After Munster scored the match-winning point for the 13-11 tiebreaker win, Mission Prep officially clinched the team win.

Cortina said Vieira had a great season and was one of the team’s standout players this season.

“I have to remind her that it’s her first year coming out,” Cortina said. “She hasn’t played in so many years and she came out here, was No. 1, she won our [Central Sequoia] League tournament, so she had a lot of accomplishments. She shouldn’t be so hard on herself.”

This season was Vieira’s first time playing tennis competitively since she was in eighth grade. Vieira said she stopped playing after the eighth grade, but started when she was three-years-old.

“I missed it and I wanted to try something new to get a fresh mind off of basketball,” Vieira said. “I was like ‘I played tennis before, so I’m going to see what I can accomplish and I accomplished a lot this year.”

“My initial goal was to be No. 1 on the team no matter what time of the season and I ended up being that. Winning games that I thought I couldn’t , but it was a great season, even for the team overall.”

Regarding her final match of the season, Vieira said too many forced errors was a factor in her loss.

“It was just the little forced errors, but we both fought hard,” Vieira said. “It was those little forced errors that happened. She made them, I made them. It just came down to who wasn’t going to make those forced errors.”

Selma No. 3 player Emily Sanchez was the only Bear to pull off a victory on the court.

Sanchez defeated Kat Abbate 2-6, 6-4, (10-5), which at the time cut Selma’s deficit 3-1.

The Bears had another chance to cut its deficit with Selma No. 2 Alina Lopez competing against Izzi Marshall.

After she won the first set 7-5, Lopez went to lose the second set 2-6 and the tiebreaker 0-10. That loss extended Selma’s deficit 4-1.

Now that the season is over, Cortina said this team exceeded his expectations.

“It got better as the season went on,” Cortina said. “A lot of the girls stepped up especially due to injuries. Some of them had to come out and really step up. So they all came a long way”

Selma’s season ends at 21-7 overall and 8-4 in Central Sequoia League play. The Bears’ 2018 postseason run included defeating No. 12 Liberty (Madera Ranchos) in the first round and No. 12 Porterville in the quarterfinals. Both matches resulted in Selma winning 7-2.

“We had a great season,” Vieira said. “Our team fought hard and I think we ended out on a good note.”

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

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