It took an extra day to complete — thanks to a freak windstorm that blew into town on Wednesday — but the first round of the Central Section girls tennis playoffs is finally in the books.
Fifteen area teams were in action the past two days, including five at home on Thursday. And when the dust settled, six teams advanced to next week’s quarterfinals.
In Division I, No. 5 Stockdale cruised past No. 12 Fresno Bullard 8-1. The Mustangs, who finished second to Garces in the SWYL this year, will travel to play No. 4 Arroyo Grande on Tuesday. The Rams had a bye and will host No. 7 Bakersfield Christian, which slipped past No. 10 Clovis West, 5-4.
No. 8 Liberty gave it good effort, but its season ended with a 6-3 home loss to No. 9 Clovis. The Patriots trailed 4-1 early, and after No. 1 singles player Sofia Zaletel lost her first set to Avery Noel, 6-2, the Cougars appeared ready to wrap things up.
But Zaletel made things interesting winning the next two sets, 6-4, 6-2, to help Liberty to hold on a little longer. Clovis won two of three doubles matches to clinch the win.
“Our girls had such a great season,” Liberty coach Chris Campoy said. “There was so much improvement and I’m looking forward to next season.”
No. 6 Centennial advanced in Division II with a 6-0 victory over Corcoran. The Golden Hawks will play at No. 3 San Luis Obispo-Mission Prep on Tuesday.
“I was very happy with our performance today, particularly given that my No. 2 and No. 6 (singles) girls both were very sick earlier in the week,” Centennial coach Craig Morley said. “As the score shows, my No. 1 through 3 all settled into their matches early and thoroughly dominated.
“We look forward to our next match against Mission Prep. We know they are a solid team, but we are confident in our abilities.”
In Division V action, No. 3 Shafter survived a scare from No. 14 Desert. After taking four of the six singles matches, the Scorpions won a hard-fought match at No. 1 singles, and posted another victory at No. 2 to make it close.
The Generals will host No. 11 Mira Monte on Tuesday. The Lions upset No. 6 Orosi on Wednesday, 5-4. Kern Valley defeated Fowler 6-1 to put three area teams in the D-V quarterfinals.
In Division III, Taft and Highland both had byes and will play their first action next week. The No. 2 Wildcats will be at home against No. 7 Madera South, while the No. 3 Scots host No. 6 Firebaugh.