SPORTS Pan­thers com­plete sweep of Ma­raud­ers

Porterville Recorder - - FRONT PAGE - By NAYIRAH DOSU ndosu@portevillere­corder.com

With Porter­ville ahead 4-2 af­ter sin­gles, it all came down to the dou­bles matches and the Pan­thers need­ing at least one win to beat ri­val Monache on the road in the fi­nal East Yosemite League match of the sea­son Wed­nes­day.

The Ma­raud­ers’ No. 2 duo of Mad­die Gian­netto and Tanya Perez fin­ished first with a strong 8-1 per­for­mance to keep Monache in the match but soon af­ter Porter­ville’s Vanessa Madri­gal and Chloe Weaver won the No. 1 match 8-2 for a Pan­ther vic­tory. Zeila Rivera and Han­nah Walker traded games with Michelle Brown and Eve­lyn Ca­ballero be­fore win­ning the last three games and the No. 3 match 8-5 in the fi­nal Porter­ville win.

Af­ter a 7-2 win ear­lier this sea­son, it was the sec­ond time the Pan­thers (13-9, 8-2 EYL) de­feated the two-time de­fend­ing EYL cham­pion Ma­raud­ers (4-6 EYL).

Porter­ville has al­ready earned a spot in the CIF Cen­tral Sec­tion Divi­sion III play­offs prior to the game but sealed up at least sec­ond place in EYL with the win over Monache. Tu­lare West­ern (8-1 EYL) was first in league but the re­sults of their match against Tu­lare Union were un­known as of press time and a loss against the Mus­tangs would make Porter­ville and Tu­lare West­ern CO-EYL cham­pi­ons.

“West­ern was strong, they beat us eas­ily both times,” PHS head coach Kurt Neilsen said. “It takes a power from above to get co-cham­pi­onships, so sec­ond place is prob­a­bly where we’re go­ing to be. We could’ve been lower. Ev­ery­body was so even start­ing. De­lano was solid, Mis­sion Oak [was good]. Union, I thought Union was go­ing to win it then the lower part of their lad­der didn’t hold up. And so I guess sec­ond place is bet­ter than I thought we’d get.”

Neilsen added, “We’ll go to play­offs. Last year we were a mid­dle seed...i’m ex­pect­ing the same. We went to West Bak­ers­field last year, lost the first match. I’m pretty cer­tain we won’t have a home match be­cause we’ll be a lower seed. Where we go, we won’t know un­til next week.”

Against Monache in sin­gles, Porter­ville’s No. 3 Sierra Mitchel won 6-0, 6-2; No. 4 Erica Palad won 6-2, 6-0; No. 5 Jewelia Maniss won 7-6, 6-2; and No. 6 Liz­beth Martinez won 6-2, 7-5.

Monache was with­out their usual No. 4 Jenna Keller and No. 6 Rey­nah Leal but picked up wins in sin­gles from No. 1 Gian­netto (7-5, 6-1) and No. 2 Sotelo (6-4, 6-3).

“I think they still left some­thing be­hind,” MHS head coach Gary Perez said. “I think to­day was a lit­tle more in­dica­tive of how they can play. And when you look at hav­ing a cou­ple of our reg­u­lar sin­gles play­ers gone, for us to play as well as we did, I think it was pretty in­dica­tive that the team could’ve done harder. I think they sold them­selves short. Up next for both teams is

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the EYL cham­pi­onships at Tu­lare Union High School on Fri­day and Satur­day. Neilsen as­sumes Madri­gal will be the No. 3 sin­gles seed be­hind Tu­lare West­ern’s No. 1 and Gian­netto but is un­de­cided about what the Pan­thers will do for dou­bles just yet. Porter­ville has won the EYL dou­bles ti­tle for the last five years, ac­cord­ing to Neilsen.

For Monache, Gary Perez hopes Gian­netto re­peats as the EYL sin­gles cham­pion and their dou­bles team also does well.

“First of all in sin­gles, our goal is to have Mad­die win the EYL,” Gary Perez said. “Plain and sim­ple. In the dou­bles, I re­ally think Abi­gail and Je­nessa, can be com­peti­tors there. So we’ll work on a cou­ple of things and see if we can have them ready start­ing Fri­day. We look to be, try to be as com­pet­i­tive as we pos­si­bly can.”

RECORDER PHOTO BY CHIEKO HARA

Porter­ville High School’s Vanessa Madri­gal serves a ball Wed­nes­day dur­ing the No. 1 dou­bles match at Monache High School.

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