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SVL crowns Colusa champs
One of the most competitive Sacramento Valley League Girls Tennis Championship Tournaments in recent memory came down to a match between the two preseason favorites, Colusa High senior Coral Imhoff and Willows junior Stephanie Carriere.
Imhoff returned to the singles championship match for the second consecutive season and the doubles final for the third year, winning both for the first time.
As was common throughout the two-day tournament, the championship match was decided in three sets with Carriere taking the first set and Imhoff storming back in the second and third to win 2-6, 6-1, 6-4 on Friday at Live Oak High.
In last year's senior-heavy tournament, Imhoff and Carriere were the only two underclassmen to advance to the second day and they established themselves as the two best players throughout this season, though Imhoff went 3-0 against Carriere this year and 4-0 overall.
"It feels really good and especially because it was a challenge too, it went to three sets. It makes it more of a thing to celebrate," Imhoff said.
Carriere put together a surprising run into the second day of the tournament last year before being eliminated by Imhoff, and she remembers watching last year's championship match between Imhoff and two-time champion Lucero Topete from Live Oak.
"I never would have thought I would have played this well against her in the same game, so I was impressed and we both played really well," Carriere said.
Colusa senior Taylor Davies joined Imhoff in the doubles final against Carriere and her partner Bisma Khan, and the RedHawks duo won an intense tiebreaker in the first set before running away with the final set of the tournament 7-6(8-6), 6-1.
A stumble late in the season against Willows cost Colusa sole possession of the Sacramento Valley League title but the RedHawks tore through the tournament in impressive fashion.
Imhoff, Davies and Ann Kalisuch reached the quarterfinals and three of the four teams in the doubles semifinals hailed from Colusa as six RedHawks earned all-league honors.
The top five singles players and top three doubles teams earned a chance to play at the Northern Section Individual Championships which begin at 9 a.m. Saturday at Foothill High in Palo Cedro.
Khan reached the semifinals before losing to Imhoff 6-3, 6-3, but advanced to the section tournament and earned all-league honors as she finished in a tie for third place with Live Oak's Maria Long, who lost to Carriere. The SVL doesn't have a third-place match because both players automatically advance to the section meet.
The top five players from the SVL advance to the section tournament and Davies beat Live Oak's Janet Acosta 0-6, 6-3, 6-1 to claim the fifth and final spot. Acosta still earned all-league honors and was the ironman of the tournament playing in three, three-set matches in two days.
Colusa's No. 2 doubles team of Ann Kalisuch and Cheyenne Laux edged out the RedHawks No. 3 team of Ashley Roman and Kodie Solis 6-7(3-7), 6-2, 6-4 in the third place doubles match and claimed the third and final spot in the section tournament.
Roman and Solis took home all-league honors for their fourth place finish after beating Live Oak's top two doubles teams to reach the semifinals.
Imhoff and Davies are the only seniors in the RedHawks top six.
"It just proves that next year they're going to be in good hands," Imhoff said.
During the singles tournament, Laux and Kalisuch ran into each other on the first day of the tournament and Kalisuch beat her doubles partner 6-2, 6-2. Laux entered the tournament third on Colusa's ladder and Kalisuch was fourth.
Live Oak's Barinder Kaur beat Willows' Sonia Hernandez 6-2, 1-6, 6-2 for the final all-league slot.
Colusa lost to Willows in the final match of the regular season and had to share their first league title since 2005 with the Honkers, but retained the SVL No. 1 seed for the team playoffs and played Wheatland in the first round on Tuesday in Colusa while Willows had to go on the road to play Butte View League champion Orland.
CONTACT Kirk Barron at email@example.com