Having split two earlier meetings this year with Clovis West, Garces coach Marc Gomez knew his girls tennis team was in for a tough match in Tuesday’s Central Section Division I quarterfinal.
So it was no surprise that the team’s were tied after six singles matches.
Fortunately for Gomez, he has plenty of confidence in his doubles squads.
Highlighted by defending section doubles champions Jocie Sala and Kylee Limpias, the No. 2-seeded Rams did not disappoint, sweeping past No. 7 Clovis West for a 6-3 victory at Garces.
“I knew Clovis West was a great team,” said Gomez, whose team lost 5-4 to the Golden Eagles in August and then defeated them 5-1 in the California Classic tournament a few weeks later. “They’re strong, they’re tough. And I knew it would be tough in singles, but I was pretty confident in our doubles, because our doubles are very strong.”
Garces, the D-I runner-up last year, will host No. 3 Clovis-Buchanan in Thursday’s semifinals at 2 p.m. The Bears, which lost to the Rams 5-4 earlier this year, defeated No. 6 Arroyo Grande on Tuesday to advance. Buchanan defeated Clovis West twice this season and split with No. 1 seed and defending-champion Clovis North.
“I couldn’t take anything for granted,” said Gomez of the play of his doubles teams. “Actually tonight, the doubles played probably their best match of the year. That’s what we want is to start to peak in November. And then they come up big. When you’re tied 3-3 after singles, a sweep is pretty sweet.”
With the match tied at 3-3 after singles, the Rams left little doubt in the final three matches of the day.
Sala and Limpias, who both won earlier matches as Garces’ No. 2 and No. 3 singles players, posted a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Camryn Newland and Kali Nishimine.
Sala, who had lost to Newland earlier this year, received a level of revenge with a 6-1, 6-3 victory in singles play. Limpias won 6-0, 6-0 at No. 3 singles over Rileigh Armstrong.
Kelsey Abraham, Garces’ No. 1 singles player, teamed up with Taylor Crider to post a 6-3, 6-1 win over the Golden Eagles’ Gianna Mastro and Elyse Ikemeyia at No. 2 doubles. Crider defeated Morgan Bouskos at No. 4 singles, 6-0, 6-1.
Mastro, who is the top seed for this weekend’s Central Section individual tournament at Garces, defeated Abraham 6-1, 6-1 at No. 1 singles in a match that was closer than the score indicates, Gomez said.
“Even though Abraham lost, it was a close match,” Gomez said. “I think Kelsey played awesome against Mastro and Jocelyn played 100 percent better this time.”
Sophomores Gemma Eddy and Maddie Tobias closed out the doubles sweep with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Jayden Stermer and Natalie Lawson.
“I think all the girls are playing better now than they did back in August and September,” Gomez said. “I knew it was going to be tough because we know each other well. But again, I felt our doubles was going to be the edge, and that’s what it turned out to be.”