HANFORD — Lemoore found itself in some tight sets on Thursday, but pulled through with an 8-1 West Yosemite League victory over Golden West.
The victory marked the second time the Tigers won back-to-back matches this season. They’re now 5-3 overall and 2-1 in league.
Luis Renteria led the Tigers at the top of the ladder with a 6-1, 3-6 (10-8) win in the No. 1 singles match. A super tiebreaker was also needed in the No. 2 singles match, but Marjaby Bresenio stayed strong in his 4-6, 6-2 (10-7) win.
“Not only did they win the super tiebreakers, but they mentally came through and pushed to get the win,” Lemoore coach Carla Bow said. “We’ve had a couple tough matches and they haven’t necessarily gone our way so we’ve been working on the mental toughness — just one stroke at a time, one point at a time whether you mess up or carry it through.”
No. 3 singles Jonathan Santiago won the first set 7-5 and then came on strong to close out his match 6-2. He used excellent ball placement and footwork to work around his opponent.
No. 4 Pete Hawken had one of the tougher matches of the day with long rallies, crosscourt forehands and lobs. Hawken won the first set 6-2, but began to labor in the second with some mistakes at the net and some well-placed shots by his opponent. He trailed 5-4 and was also looking at a possible super tiebreaker.
“[It took] a lot of belief in myself,” Hawken said. “I went down and I was just like, ‘If I want to win I have to just be confident and be slow with everything.’ I did and it worked out.”
The senior responded by winning the next three games and closing out his match 7-5.
“His teammates were being loud, so I was like, ‘I got to get back at them by winning,’ so that’s how I pulled through,” Hawken said. “Usually I get in my own head, but I didn’t this time.”
His victory gave the Tigers a clean sweep in singles after No. 5 Matthew Ramirez (6-1, 6-1) and No. 6 Christopher Beltran (6-2, 6-2) both won in consecutive sets.
In doubles, the No. 1 team of Santiago and Bresenio won 8-4 and the No. 3 team of Chase Garcia and Nickolas Ibarra won 8-4. The No. 2 doubles team of Hawken and Ramirez lost 8-5 and was the only blemish for the Tigers.
Lemoore seems to be hitting its stride at the right time with players who came in from other sports getting back up to speed and this week being the first whole week the team has been able to practice. Previous weeks were limited by the rain or tournaments.
“Finally having the whole team together and the weather has been great to move forward,” Bow said.
Lemoore is looking for its first 3-game winning streak of the season. They’ll have to get past Mt. Whitney (10-0, 3-0 WYL) who is currently undefeated and in first place in the WYL.
“I actually think it’s going to be our toughest [match] of the season,” Bow said. “They’ve got mostly returning players and just that experience of them having more time on the court is going to come into play.”
The match is at Lemoore High School on Tuesday at 4 p.m. Last season, Lemoore swept Mt. Whitney by winning 5-4 in both matches.