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Colusa tennis trio earn All-SVL honors
There wasn't much anybody could do to slow down the Live Oak High girls tennis team at the Sacramento Valley League Tournament, which took place Thursday and Saturday in Live Oak.
Live Oak senior Lucero Topete won the Sacramento Valley League individual championship for the second consecutive year with a commanding 6-3, 6-0 victory against Colusa junior Coral Imhoff, and Topete teamed up with Jacque Mullen to upset Imhoff and Kimberlee Harmon in the doubles tournament.
"We were nervous, we had to keep focus, we didn't do so good against our own team (in the semifinals) so we had to keep it together," Topete said.
Imhoff earned All-Leage status in singles with her finish.
Imhoff and Harmon entered the tournament as the No. 1 ranked doubles team after beating the Lions' top pair twice in the regular season, but Topete and Mullen took control of the match late in the first set and blazed through the tiebreaker. The Lions' momentum carried on in the second set and Topete and Mullen secured the doubles championship with a 7-6 (7-1), 6-2 victory.
The Colusa duo also received the All-League nod for doubles play.
Of the 10 players to make it to the second day of the tournament, only two will be back next year. Imhoff, a junior, and Willows High sophomore Stephanie Carriere were the only two underclassmen to make it to the second day of the tournament.
Imhoff will be the player to beat next season after finishing second in the singles and doubles tournaments. The tournament format provided Imhoff with several fun matches, she said.
"It was really fun because you get to play a variety of girls and not always the same person. Mullen (Live Oak's No. 2) that was my favorite match because we were pretty even," Imhoff said.
Carriere earned All-SVL honors and won her first two matches before falling to Imhoff 6-2, 6-1. She had a chance to advance to the fifth place match, splitting the first two sets with Colusa senior Stephanie Munguia, but lost, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.
Munguia, who played tennis this season for the first time as a senior, claimed the fifth and final spot in the Northern Section tournament, beating Live Oak's Clarissa Herrera 7-5, 6-4. Munguia went 4-1 in the tournament, and was also named All-SVL.
"I didn't think I was going to do very well because yesterday I was at the football game cheerleading and I came home late, and I wasn't well prepared, and I had a stomach ache, and playing (Topete) I was like today isn't going to go my way but I kept trying," Munguia said.
For Harmon, the tournament was bittersweet. She powered through a knee injury all year but the grueling two-day event caught up with her Saturday during the singles tournament.
After winning her first set against Herrera in the play-in match she dropped the second set and spent her time between sets icing her knee as her parents comforted her. Despite a valiant effort in the third set, she lost to Herrera 3-6, 6-1, 6-0.
Though the loss prevented Harmon from advancing to the Northern Section tournament, she earned All-SVL honors.
"It was definitely a little stressful knowing that once you come off you'll have to play yet again. With my knee hurting it wasn't fun at the beginning, but in doubles I went out and had fun with my doubles partner so it ended pretty well," Harmon said.
With two doubles matches remaining, Harmon spent the time recovering and she and Imhoff made quick work of the Lions' Aisha Khan and Lupe Chavez which earned her more time to recover before the championship match as Live Oak's top two doubles teams battled in a tightly contested match on the other side of the bracket.
The Lions No. 2 team of Crystal Rodriguez and Herrera pushed Topete and Mullen to a tiebreaker in the first set before losing 7-6 (7-2), 6-1 to set up the championship match.
Several players made surprise runs in the tournament. Herrera, who was Live Oak's No. 5 player, and Colusa's No. 5 player, sophomore Cheyenne Laux, were tough to eliminate.
Laux won her first match, 8-5 against Willows' Megan Mendes, before losing to Topete 6-0, 6-1. Despite the loss to the eventual champion, Colusa coach Jim Imhoff saw Laux make monumental improvements.
"She had to play (Topete) and she improved in that one match more than she did in a whole season of me coaching," Imhoff said. "After that, all the confidence carried over into doubles and they almost knocked off the No. 1 doubles team."
She then teamed up with Mackenzie Bressler in doubles and beat the Honkers' No. 3 team of Carriere and Mendes 8-5 before once again facing the top seed in the second round. They made Imhoff and Harmon sweat throughout the match before losing 6-4, 6-2. Bressler went 1-1 in the singles tournament.
Colusa's No. 2 doubles team of Munguia and Taylor Davies won its first match 8-5 before losing to Topete and Mullen.
Live Oak's Topete, Mullen and Rodriguez, and Colusa's Imhoff and Munguia qualified for the section singles tournament. In doubles, Live Oak's Topete and Mullen, and Khan and Chavez qualified for the doubles tournament along with Colusa Imhoff and Harmon.
Colusa played in Orland at 1 p.m. on Tuesday in the team playoffs, and the winner of that match will likely play in Live Oak on Wednesday.
CONTACT Kirk Barron at 458-2121 or email@example.com.