It was almost expected, but Turlock High girls tennis player Elise Cusenza knew she couldn’t just simply walk all over her opponent — though her undefeated record in No. 1 singles action in the past two years indicates otherwise.
There were a number of obstacles she had to overcome.
Besides wanting to remain untouched in singles competition, she was going head-to-head with a new foe, this time being Merced High’s Janet Xu in the No. 1 singles championship match of the Central California Conference Tournament on Thursday at Merced College. And she also didn’t want to disappoint.
Well, she didn’t.
The senior, who will continue playing at Modesto Junior College, easily defeated Xu in two straight sets (6-2, 6-2) to become back-to-back No. 1 singles champion. What’s left for Cusenza and the Bulldogs are the playoffs, as they earned a first-round bye after winning their fourth consecutive league title and will host the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Division I Tournament on Nov. 2.
“It’s a sense of accomplishment,” Cusenza said about becoming a two-time CCC singles champion.
She also earned the league MVP award, as doubles duos Camille Stiles/Taylor Olson and Jillian Temple/Lizette Duarte earned all-conference recognition. Both squads made it to the quarterfinals of the CCC Doubles Championships.
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