This time last year, West was feeling the agony of losing in the semifinals of the Central Section playoffs. After all, the Vikings were so close to accomplishing something that hadn’t been done in more than four decades at the school.
On Wednesday, on their home courts, the third-seeded Vikings took care of business, beating No. 7 Selma 5-4 in the Division III semifinals. They will play next at No. 1 Corcoran in the finals on Tuesday.
West athletic director Scott Davisson was unsure of the last time West played for a section championship, saying “It’s been a long time.”
For the record, the last section title for the Vikings girls tennis team came in 1973.
“It’s huge. Last year we were beat in the semifinals and it hurt. It hurt the girls,” West coach Josh Valverde said. “So this year, to come back, they wanted it. They worked hard and they are there.”
The teams were tied 3-3 after singles matches. Andrea Pachuca and Monse Lopez made quick work of Kim Lopez and Deshirit Pandher (6-0, 6-1 victory) in No. 3 doubles, however, to give the Vikings a 4-3 lead. Consequently, the team competition would come down to the No. 1 doubles match.
That’s where Sara Cooper and Leslie Vasquez clinched the championship-match berth with a 6-0, 6-3 win. Vasquez had the match-clinching point for the Vikings.
“It’s a relief to me,” Cooper said. “We have made it pretty far and now we are accomplishing the goals we didn’t get to do last year. It feels pretty good.”
Cooper also beat Clarissa Condit 6-0, 6-0 in the No. 1 singles, Yasmin Flores beat Emily Sanchez 6-7, 6-3 (10-8) in No. 4 singles, and Michelle Prieto beat Giselle Guzman 1-6, 6-3 (10-5) in No. 6 singles.
Corcoran defeated No. 4 North 5-1 in the other semifinals match in D-III.
No. 3 Bakersfield advanced in D-II with a 7-2 victory on the road at No. 2 Sanger. The Drillers will play at No. 1 Visalia-Redwood in the finals. Redwood defeated No. 4 Centennial, 7-2, in the semifinals on Wednesday.
In D-I, No. 2 Clovis-Buchanan defeated No. 3 Stockdale 5-4.
Taft lost 6-3 in the D-IV championship match on the road at No. 1 Visalia-Central Valley Christian, while No. 11 Mira Monte fell 5-4 to No. 2 Firebaugh in the D-V semifinals.
Individual section brackets set
Stockdale senior Erica Paradise and freshman Greta Krueger are the No. 1 seed in the Central Section championships Friday and Saturday at Buchanan High in Clovis.
The duo won the Southwest Yosemite League title, beating Margo Kuney and Kate Kelly of Bakersfield, who are the 3-seed in the doubles bracket.
Garces sophomore Alexsia Drulias is the top Kern County singles player in the section tournament at No. 6. Drulias’ next door neighbor, Payton Renz of Liberty, is No. 7.
Alyena Young of Centennial is seeded 12th, ahead of Jackie Salas of Garces (13), Miki Yeomans of Centennial (14). The bracket rounds out with Kayla Ko of Stockdale, who will play No. 1 seed Tatiana Ruiz of Clovis North.
Annabella McGilvray and Abby Stevens of Bakersfield Christian is the No. 5 seed in doubles play, along with Isa Iturriria and Bella Bank of Bakersfield (No. 10), Anna Ashford and Gabi Guijarro of Stockdale (11), and Paloma Lobos and Toka Welch of Ridgeview at No. 15.