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Late heroics lead RedHawks past Willows
In a few tense moments, the Colusa High girls tennis team rallied back from the brink of defeat to win an early but critical showdown against an evenly matched Willows team on Thursday in Colusa.
After splitting the singles matches with three victories apiece, and winning the No. 1 doubles match, the RedHawks faced an uphill battle. Needing to win one more match, Colusa trailed 7-6 in the both No. 2 and No. 3 doubles.
Stephanie Munguia and Taylor Davies were in control of the No. 2 match for most of the way, before Willows' Bisma Khan and Hadiya Khan roared back to take a 7-6 lead and the Honkers were within one point of securing the victory.
Playing together for the first time and in their first season playing high school tennis, the RedHawks duo rallied back and won the final two games for a 9-7 victory.
Though it's still early in the season, the head-to-head victory matters.
Live Oak has control of the top spot in the Sacramento Valley League while Colusa and Willows are in a battle for the final playoff spot from the league, so a win for Munguia and Davies not only gave the RedHawks the match, but put them in the control of the final post-season berth.
"I didn't even know that, I just wanted to go out there and play. It was really fun and then I just had a positive attitude out there and kept up Taylor throughout the way too," Munguia said.
Their win ended up being the pivotal moment on Thursday, because Stephanie Carriere and Meghan Mendes held off Mackenzie Bressler and Cheyenne Laux 9-8 (7-3).
Unforced errors and poor footwork were to blame for the loss, according to frustrated Willows coach Don Byrd.
"Next time if we're at 7-6 and we're up 3-1 for the eighth point I think we ought to win one out of the next three points, and when we're up 3-2 in the other match we ought to win one of two," he said.
"It was a close match but it came down to a swing of probably less than three minutes where we went from a 5-4 winner to a 5-4 loser."
The RedHawks swept the top three singles matches. Coral Imhoff defeated Bisma Khan (6-3, 6-0), Kimberlee Harmon beat Carriere (6-2, 6-1) and Munguia picked up a win against Cindy Vang (6-2, 6-0).
Willows won the No. 4, 5 and 6 singles matches to set up the doubles showdown. Makayla Chacon beat Bressler (6-0, 6-3), Hadiya Khan outlasted Laux (4-6, 6-1, 6-2) and Mendez trumped Davies (6-3, 6-2).
Imhoff and Harmon made short work of Vang and Chacon in the No. 1 doubles match (8-1) and Imhoff watched the final two matches from courtside.
The importance of the winning wasn't lost on Imhoff, the RedHawks junior ace, as she watched the ending unfold.
"I was really nervous because we really wanted to beat them, we knew they were a good team. When it's that close you're biting your nails, it was exciting,"
The Honkers will have to wait until the final day of the regular season, Oct. 9., for a chance at revenge when they host Colusa.
CONTACT Kirk Barron at 458-2121 or email@example.com.