Pitman and Turlock High varsity girls tennis teams will step into the newly developed Central California Athletic League along with four other Modesto area schools—Gregori, Modesto, Enochs and Downey.
“New league, new assistant coach, so sort of a fresh year,” said Turlock head coach Linda Bejaran. “I hope we are in the top three, with Gregori and Enochs, they are tough and Pitman. I think we will give them a run for their money. I hope the girls stay focused and not over excited being in a new league.”
Turlock left the Central California Conference as undisputed champs for 11 straight seasons.
Coach Bejaran is enthusiastic heading into their first year in the CCAL.
“Last year went really well, obviously we took first, it was our 11th consecutive title in a row,” said Bejaran. “Going into the new league actually feels really good this year about our team. Our singles are looking strong, but we also have a lot of depth, I am thinking if we win again it’s going to be this year.”
Pitman is coming off a 2-10 season in the CCC.
The Pride are bringing back Karen Kahlon, who is expected to be the team’s undoubted No. 1 singles player.
“We are setting a numerical goal at .500, that will be the goal this year,” said Hayes. “Also, the CCAL should be a tougher league, but I can envision a couple wins in there. No idea how we are going to matchup in this league. It will all play out soon enough but I don’t know the strengths. We should be better than last year, we brought in quite a few freshmen. Team is at 22 right now and last year we were at 15. One freshman coming in to make the top six and stronger.”
Turlock’s returners include Maya Young, Izzy Romeo, Kelly Ziya and Sophie Winfree.
Freshman Hannah Mikha is expecting to be one of the top singles players for the Bulldogs and is currently No. 1.
“Her and Maya are going back and forth that is why I said we are strong up top,” said Bejaran. “This has to be the year we win league. We have more time to focus on ourselves and get better since in the past we didn’t have much time.”
Turlock will scrimmage El Capitan, Oakdale and Pacheco High.
Turlock will open up CCAL play on the road at Gregori at 3 p.m. Sept. 18.
Pitman kicks off CCAL play at home against Modesto High at 3:30 p.m. Sept. 18.