Turlock High swept both the Central California Conference Singles tournament and Doubles tournament for the second year in a row on Thursday. Competing on the home courts of Atwater High, Mila Johns claimed the singles title while the newly formed team of Lauren Carlson and Courtnie Chan took the doubles title.
“I'm just so proud of the girls,” Turlock head coach Linda Bejaran said.
Johns found her way to the championship round in dominate fashion as she dispatched Pitman High's Sahemi Castorena and Golden Valley High's Chadue Lee in straight sets in the second and semifinal round, respectively. Turlock's top player was finally pushed to three sets by Golden Valley's Dani Vigil in the finals as she dropped the opening set 4-6, but managed to bounce back with a 6-1 and 6-3 set to cement her victory.
“At the beginning of the season I knew she was going to be one of our stronger players in the league, so I kind of in my mind thought she should be able to win CCC,” Bejaran said. “You're always afraid to say because you don't want to jinx it.”
As Johns played in the singles championship, the doubles tournament was moving along in the adjacent courts in what proved to be an exciting few rounds of competition. The eventual champions from Turlock, Carlson and Chan, found themselves facing familiar opponents in the semifinal round as Pitman's Barbara Beasley and Castorena—the Pride's respective 2 and 3 singles players who were teamed up for the first time— challenged the Lady Bulldogs for a shot at the title.
“It was nice to play a team we're familiar with and to show each other respect,” Bejaran said of the cross town match up.
Beasley and Castorena clawed their way to the penultimate match of the tournament on Thursday with a pair of hard-fought, three-set victories over Atwater's Julie Dailey and Nancy Xiong (6-7, 6-4 and 7-5) and Golden Valley's Chadue Lee and Emily Brown (6-2, 4-6 and 6-1).
“I think we were fortunate that Pitman took our Golden Valley for us,” Bejaran said of the Pride's victory over the top seeded pair in the tournament. “I'll tell ya, Sahemi and Barbara Beasley, they played great today.”
Still, the duo of Carlson and Chan proved to be too much for Pitman's team as they won the semifinal match up in straight and identical sets, 6-4 and 6-4. Carlson and Chan followed their win over their rivals with another straight-set win over the Merced team of Jaymee Illescas and Lisa Miao to take the doubles title.
“With each match they played they stepped up their game, which they needed to, and they got more and more comfortable at the net,” Bejaran said of her doubles team. “They relaxed and actually started playing doubles. It was a great win for them.”
With the regular season now complete, Turlock must prepare for its Nov. 4 Sac Joaquin Section Division I Team championships and the Nov. 6 SJS Division I Singles and Doubles Championships which will feature Johns, Carlson and Chan.
“I think if Mila stays focused and moves her feet and plays her game, she has a real good chance of moving on,” Bejaran said. “And I think Courtnie and Lauren, if they just continue to play a smart net game and encourage each other and just stay focused, I think they also have a very good chance of moving through the rounds.”
Turlock will host its as of yet unannounced team playoff match while the singles and doubles tournaments will be held in Sacramento.