Tuesday marked the final preseason match for Turlock and Pitman high schools’ varsity girls’ tennis teams and the beginning of league in the Central California Conference for the Bulldogs and Pride.
Each side met a team from the Modesto Metro Conference as Pitman hosted Enochs while Turlock hosted Gregori.
Pitman failed to muster a victory as they fell 6-3, but the Bulldogs went out and won by a slim margin at 5-4.
“We played a team from both spectrums, but Enochs were up above our level. The girls played well in preseason,” said Pitman head coach Jeff Hayes.
“Today's match helped our team be more consistent and know when to close out the match,” said Turlock assistant coach Gini Asai. “I'm very proud of our girls the way they played and I think they showed us what a solid team they are and showed they are very capable of winning another CCC title.”
Although it was a scrimmage for the Bulldogs they met a competitive Gregori team, one they had only beaten once before—last year—and managed to give them all they could handle with their very young looking squad.
The top two singles players lost their matches, but then the next four singles went on to capture wins for the 'Dogs. Michelle Gomez, Izzy Romeo, Sophie Winfree and Mehr Sahota were all the singles players who captured victories, with three ending in straight sets.
“Playing Gregori is always great. We always have great matches with them,” said Asai. “They are well coached and we are just happy to play someone from Modesto and going into our season we have good experience to get us through our first league match.”
The real difference of the day was in the No. 2 doubles team consisting of Megan VanHoogmoed and Makenna Boutelle, who managed to sweep their opponent in straight sets win, 6-3 and 6-3.
“These girls basically clinched the win,” said Asai about the fifth win. “Without that win then we lose it all. It fixed the match for us. I’m real proud of their progression.”
The Pitman squad found themselves close to the win, but after a 3-3 score, Enochs managed to win the final three matches to take the 6-3 victory.
The Pride captured two singles victories from No. 3 Ashley Byers and Amrit Hayer.
“Our girls were evenly matched but they bested us for sure,” said Hayes. “We played a team that was much better than us. We need to get more comfortable hitting the ball the way we wanted to and we are getting there.”
The third win for Pitman came from the No. 2 doubles team in Catherine Smith and Dez Castorena-Benitez who won in a third set super tie breaker.
“It was close,” Hayes added.
Pitman's first Central California Conference matchup will be on the road against Atwater at 3 p.m. Thursday.
The Bulldogs will host El Capitan at 3 p.m. Thursday.