For the first time in head coach Juan Alanizs’ five year tenure as the Turlock high boys tennis coach, they finished their season undefeated with a perfect 12-0 record in the Central California Conference after trouncing cross town rivals Pitman High on Thursday afternoon.
The Pride fell to the Bulldogs in their first meeting by a lopsided 8-1 win, but this time the Pride came out with a vengeance and an urge to beat out their rivals and began with a 1-0 start after Pitman’s number one singles player, Jeremy Moitoso topped out Marco Andres in straight sets, 6-0 and 6-0.
Only one more win would come for the Pride, who came close to winning the number six singles and number one doubles but the young guns of the ‘Dogs kept their cool when down under pressure and came out on top as a team 7-2 to end the regular season with a perfect record.
“This year, this group is a great team overall. We got a young group of kids with a lot of sophomores, but they are not very emotional about what they do, but they all compete well and we really appreciate that, the kids deserve it especially after coming so close last year,” Alaniz said about his perfect season.
“The boys played really well, we had a better competitive spirit today, I have to commend the Turlock boys because their service game is dominating. It is something that we do well at Pitman but were not as consistent as Turlock,” Pitman head coach Doug Reimers said. “I feel their service game really helped them through moments where they might have been low in confidence.”
Last year, the Pride were able to come out with a 3-7 overall record while this season proved a positive turnaround with a 7-5 finish.
“I felt this year that we had a more dedicated and more talented team than last year and they proved it in the second half of the season,” said Reimers.
After splitting last year’s CCC title, this year, the Bulldogs can legitimately claim the conference title as the lone winners and have finished top two in four of coach Alaniz’s five years in the CCC.
“Last year we were co-champions; Bill [Weber] does a good job with us, it’s a lot of fun with Turlock tennis and we hope to continue building,” Alaniz said about his assistant.
With a young, yet talented and deep squad, the Bulldogs have proved to be above the top high school tennis programs by the start of this decade.
With the help of tennis guru, Bill Weber as the assistant coach for the second consecutive year, Alaniz has been more than grateful as Weber has proved to be a huge asset, winning back-to-back CCC titles.
“Coach Bill [Weber] has been a great help and vital asset to the team. Really helping prepare these kids and we never contradict each other, we respect one another, its good stuff. It is hard to find good help like him,” said Alaniz. “These kids are great competitors and they have the potential to do it again next year so we will see.”
Amir Ebrahimi of Pitman would trounce Eilan Shabaz in the number three singles matchup, which would be the only other win for Pitman.
Turlock would dominate in four matches by way of straight sets, with two matches going into a tiebreaker.
The most intriguing match of the day was in the number one doubles contest where Pitman’s Elijah Silveira and Tony Gutierrez gave Turlock’s Davis Griffin and Carlos Iniques a run, but in the end the ‘Dogs calm young guns surged over the Pride 3-6, 6-4 and 10-7.
“Our boys played hard and we were certainly more competitive than we were last time at Turlock. We were a couple games here and there with close results, which we have seen it in past years that Turlock proves their skill but I am proud of our team,” Reimers said.
Freshman Griffin and sophomore Iniques proved why they are undefeated this season as they were down at one point but the relaxed and confident approach taken by the youthful duo proved to be critical as they kept their mind at ease and fought back to win.
“Yeah our number one doubles are young. They kept their composure and those guys from Pitman stepped it up today and our guys said ‘we got it coach.’ It’s good to see that at that age they can compete the way they do,” Alaniz stated about the number one doubles match. “It is an individual sport but it’s a team sport at the same time, we talk about that before the season began that we are a single unit.”