The Turlock High varsity girls tennis team has dominated the Central California Conference over the past decade, earning 10 straight league titles heading into this fall season.
While the Pride of Pitman took leaps last year and showed strength in their rotation, they know that matching the depth of Turlock this year will be a challenge.
The Bulldogs are no strangers to winning and head coach Linda Bejaran has the same expectation of this year’s team, noting that her squad has just as much depth and maturity as in previous years.
“Last year we ended on a high note, we won the title. All the girls are eager to compete and play with purpose. Are we hungry for number 11? Yes,” said Bejaran.
The team from last year includes 12 returners: Maya Young, Izzy Romeo, Sophie Winfree, Mehr Sahota, Megan Van Hoogmoed, Anna lima, Taylor Eldridge, Makenna Boutelle, Kelly Ziya, Claudia Chan, Taylor Griffin and Legan Labao.
“Expectations are high this year,” said Bejaran. “We most definitely have experience on our side. Being able to maintain play at a high level of competence will be a challenge that the team is fully embracing.”
Look for the squad to embrace the team motto of “purpose,” according to Bejaran.
“Our motto this year is purpose; purpose to be at practice on time, purpose to give 100 percent each practice,” said Bejaran. “Would it be awesome to win the CCC title again? Yes... our plan is to play one team at a time, be good sportsmen, and enjoy the game we all love, which is tennis.”
The Pride are coming off a 6-4 season in the CCC, tying for third place.
“I think we had a lot of seniors and with them gone, we are young from the bottom of the ladder to the top,” said Pitman head coach Jeff Hayes. “With new players, it should be interesting.”
Three of the top five singles players return for the Pride including No. 1 Karen Kahlon, Amrit Hayer and Chuc Luu.
“We are coming back with some strong players up top and I am excited to see what they are able to pull out,” said Hayes. “Doubles side of things, we are rebuilding because of the depth so definitely a rebuilding year. They are young; good things to look forward to moving ahead.
“We never give up any matches, we will go out and fight every match hard as we can,” Hayes added. “How we fare will depend on how our opponents will do and I am not sure where they are at. I would hope in this rebuilding year we could match what we did last year.”
The first match for the Pride will be against Atwater at 3 p.m. on Aug. 31.
Turlock will take on El Capitan on the road in the first CCC match at 3 p.m. Aug. 31.