Returning from 2012 Sac-Joaquin Section playoff appearances, the girls tennis teams from West and Tracy high schools will see if their new players can match the accomplishments of 2012’s Sac-Joaquin Section playoff teams.
Kimball High is taking the court with a new coach, a core of returning players and a goal to finish high in the Valley Oak League and go to the playoffs.
West High Wolf Pack
The girls tennis team begins the season with an almost entirely new varsity lineup.
Eleven members of the 2012 team, which placed second in the Tri-City Athletic League behind St. Mary’s, have since graduated. That team went 18-4 overall, 8-2 TCAL, and reached the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs.
Returning seniors Arianne Coleto and Russell Jorda now take the No. 1 and 2 singles spots.
Coleto said it’s a big change from last year, when she played doubles.
"I have full confidence in my team," she said. "They’ve been progressing a lot in conditioning and practices. I believe in them."
Coach Ben Tsukiji said the new players joining Coleto and Jorda will get plenty of opportunities to face tough competition.
"I think this is probably a season when the girls that climb that learning curve the fastest and are the most competitive, they’ll have a chance to keep moving up the ladder immediately," Tsukiji said.
West started off with an 8-1 win at home Tuesday over Beyer High of Modesto.
West’s only loss came in the No. 1 singles position, as Beyer sophomore Symone Jacques — the Modesto Metro Conference individual runner-up in 2012 — beat Coleto 6-0, 6-0.
Jorda went three sets against Beyer’s Gina Nuccio, winning 7-5, 2-6, 10-5.
The rest of West’s players won their matches in straight sets, including 6-1, 6-1 singles wins for sophomores Allysa Febre and Hanna Nakahara, a 6-3, 6-3 win for junior Shaunna Flynn and a 6-4, 6-2 win for senior Deanna Vongphachanh.
In doubles, seniors Simran Randhawa and Judy Huang won 6-1, 6-0, juniors Alyssa Cornier and Karla Sasing won 6-1, 6-3, and sophomore Tiana Ahumada and junior Abby Mendoza won 7-6, 6-2.
Tracy High Bulldogs
Tracy High tennis coach Paul Demsher is eager to see which Bulldog players will step up to beat Tracy’s toughest rivals in the San Joaquin Athletic Association.
A handful of returning players lead the Tracy team, but the top players from 2012 — when the Bulldogs went 10-5 overall, 7-3 in the SJAA, and tied for second with Lincoln behind Lodi — have graduated.
Among the returners are junior Camille McDaniel, who joined three of her senior teammates last year as Tracy won first and second place in the SJAA doubles tournament. As half of the second-place doubles team, McDaniel also earned a trip to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I doubles tournament.
She will play at No. 2 singles behind freshman Melanie Markovic, No. 1 singles.
"We have a lot of girls with talent and an incoming freshman who’s pretty good," McDaniel said. "The challenge for our team this year, I would just say staying confident."
Also returning are seniors Maisy Green, Keara O’Brien, Lindsey Ewen and Katrina Broughton.
The Bulldogs opened the season with a 5-4 win Tuesday at Granada High in Livermore.
The final score came down to McDaniel’s three-set match against Cailey Xamm, which McDaniel won 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (8-6).
Markovic won her match 6-1, 6-1, sophomore Sarah Kellogg won 6-2, 6-2, Green won 6-3, 6-3, and Ewen won 6-1, 6-4.
Granada won all three doubles matches and a singles match.
Kimball High Jaguars
The Kimball girls tennis team is making plans to reach the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs, ready to take a step forward from a fourth-place finish in the 2012 Valley Oak League.
The transition begins with a new coach, Kelly Sullivan. Sullivan played varsity tennis at East Union High School in Manteca, where she graduated in 2002. She played recreationally at UC Santa Cruz. She has taught science at Kimball since the school opened in 2009 and jumped at the opportunity to coach tennis this year.
She said the team is capable of improving on its 4-8 VOL record from last year.
"Our goal is to finish at least in third so we can go to the (playoff) tournament," Sullivan said. "I’m hoping we can get beyond that."
Junior Kylie Moxley, who moves from the No. 2 singles spot to No. 1 singles, said the team is optimistic as a group of talented newcomers comes on board.
"They’re a really good addition to the team, and we have a really good chance of making it higher this year," she said.
Returning junior Viel Salgarino is the Jaguars’ No. 2
singles player, and returning seniors include Ysabel Candalla, Angela Egbuchulam and Angelique Vega.
Salgarino said Kimball’s 8-1 win at Lathrop on Tuesday boosted the team’s confidence to start the season.
"I just wanted to win so I could be more consistent, because I know when we go to Manteca and Oakdale, it’s going to be hard," she said.
Moxley won her match 6-0, 6-3, and Salgarino won 6-1, 6-0. Kimball won three other singles matches and all three doubles matches in single eight-game sets.
• Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or email@example.com.