Most Viewed Stories
RedHawks clinch playoff spot, end Honkers' hopes
The Colusa High girls tennis team clinched second place in the Sacramento Valley League and a Northern Section playoff berth Tuesday by beating the Honkers 6-3 at Willows High.
Only two teams from the SVL qualify for the team playoffs and Live Oak clinched the top spot after it went undefeated in league play. Colusa needed only to beat Willows to secure second place after winning the first meeting in September, 5-4.
Despite the loss, the season isn't over for the Willows players. The Sacramento Valley League individual tournament begins Oct. 18 in Live Oak and concludes on Oct. 20, and individual playoff berths are on the line in both singles and doubles.
Willows played Tuesday's match short-handed and junior Elena Garcia stepped into the No. 6 spot as a replacement and put up a valiant fight against Colusa's Taylor Davies in the singles match before losing 6-3, 6-3.
"(Garcia) played a good match coming in. She's done it before with us but there's a little bit too much of a talent issue between her and (Davies)," Willows coach Don Byrd said.
The RedHawks' ace, Coral Imhoff, out-dueled Bisma Khan 6-0, 6-2 and Colusa took a 4-2 lead after singles play was completed.
Stephanie Munguia withstood everything Willows' Cindy Vang could throw at her in the closest match of the day before pulling out a 7-5, 6-4 victory in the No. 3 singles match.
Stephanie Carriere pushed Colusa's Kimberlee Harmon to the limit but Harmon escaped with a 6-4, 6-3 victory for the RedHawks.
"Cindy Vang gave me a much better match today than I had in Colusa (in September) and so did Carriere," Byrd said.
Makayla Chacon gave the Honkers a victory in the No. 4 singles match against Mackenzie Bressler (6-0, 6-1), and Haydia Khan earned a 6-3, 6-2 victory against Cheyenne Laux.
In September, the teams entered doubles play tied 3-3 before the RedHawks came from behind to win two doubles matches and the match.
This time the Honkers needed a sweep but Bressler and Laux bounced back from their singles losses to beat Carriere and Garcia 8-2, sealing the RedHawks' victory.
Vang and Bisma Khan took a 4-2 lead on Imhoff and Harmon before Colusa's top doubles team rattled off six-consecutive game victories.
"We had trouble, we were just skidding and finally it was like we were gripped in," Harmon said. "We knew what we were doing wrong but it's just not how we normally play."
The victory was important for the RedHawks No. 1 doubles team because it kept them in the running for the top seed in the SVL tournament next week.
Willows picked up a doubles victory in the No. 2 match when Chacon and Haydia Khan beat Munguia and Davies 8-6.
Both teams concluded regular season play with the match Tuesday and will return to action Thursday at the league tournament.
The top five singles players and the top three doubles teams from the SVL tournament will advance to the Northern Section Division II playoffs.
Colusa's Imhoff will likely be the second seed in the tournament and Harmon has a chance to be in the top five in singles. Imhoff and Harmon have a chance to be the No. 1 doubles team after defeating Live Oak's Lucero Topete and Jacque Mullen earlier in the season.
Willows' Bisma Khan could be ranked in the top five in singles. Live Oak's Topete will be the top-seeded singles player in the tournament and Mullen will be highly ranked as well.
CONTACT Craig Purcell at 824-1036 or email@example.com.