In her 10 years as a tennis player, Tracy High freshman Melanie Markovic has pursued bigger and tougher challenges.
Markovic thinks that experience, including four years in United States Tennis Association competition, has prepared her well for postseason competition. Team playoffs start Monday, Nov. 4, and the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I individual tournament begins Thursday, Nov. 7.
"Right now, I feel more confidence in myself," Markovic said. "When I was little, I would have a lot of stress if I didn’t win. Now I can get rid of that."
She took her defeat in the San Joaquin Athletic Association singles championship, held Oct. 24 and 25 at In-Shape Sport West Lane in Stockton, as another step forward. Lodi High junior Macy Barajas, the defending SJAA champion, won the title match 6-2, 6-2 on Friday, Oct. 25.
"She could return every ball, and it was hard for me to do that," Markovic said. "She was consistent and played a lot of hard ball."
Markovic won three matches to reach the final.
Markovic was Tracy’s No. 1 singles player for the 2013 season, leading the Bulldog team (9-3, 7-3 SJAA) to a third-place finish in the SJAA.
The full team will compete in the SJS Division I playoffs on Monday in Elk Grove, facing either Franklin High or Elk Grove High from the Delta Valley Conference.
Markovic’s second-place finish at the SJAA tournament also makes her one of three players representing Tracy at the SJS Division I individual tournament, to be played Thursday and Friday at Johnson Racquet Club in Roseville.
Senior Maisy Green and junior Camille McDaniel also qualified for the individual doubles tournament with a second-place finish at the SJAA doubles championships.
Green is taking her first trip to the section tournament after four years on the Tracy High tennis team, mostly as a doubles player. She said playing singles this year greatly improved her game.
"It was a difficult season," Green said. "I feel like I’ve learned a lot from the people that I’ve played."
McDaniel, who competed in the 2012 section tournament as part of a doubles team, plans to play hard but also have fun.
"You hate to get that far and not enjoy yourself," she said, adding that she and Green worked well together in the SJAA tournament. "I know Maisy and I are a really good doubles team. We just kept on fighting and playing aggressively, so when we made it to the championship game, I was ready."
Green and McDaniel won their first-round and second-round matches 10-3 and 10-8 and the semifinal match 6-3, 6-3. They lost 6-4, 6-3 to Lodi in the final.
West 5, Stagg 4
West High’s tennis team finished its regular season in second place in the Tri-City Athletic League with a 5-4 win at home over Stagg High on Oct. 24.
The Wolf Pack (12-3, 8-2 TCAL) won four of the six singles matches.
Sophomore Alyssa Febre played the deciding match in the No. 2 singles, winning 4-6, 6-2, 11-9.
West began play in the Tri-City Athletic League individual championships on Thursday, Oct. 31, at In-Shape Sport: Marina, in Stockton. The tournament continues Friday, Nov. 1.
Singles and doubles champions and runners-up will compete in the SJS Division I individual tournament.
West begins the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I team playoffs on Monday at home against Rodriguez High of Fairfield.
Kimball at Valley Oak League tournament
Kimball High’s tennis players finished their Valley Oak League season in the early rounds of the VOL doubles tournament on Oct. 24 at Lathrop High.
The Kimball team (10-4 VOL) is headed to Sacramento on Monday to face Kennedy High, the second-place team from the Metropolitan Conference, in the SJS Division II playoffs.
• Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or email@example.com.