Porterville drops important match 6-3 to Delano

Tied for first place in the East Yosemite League, Porterville High School boys’ tennis needed two wins in doubles to defeat Delano and take sole possession of first in league. But a doubles’ sweep destroyed the Panthers’ chances and they instead fell 6-3 to the Tigers at home in Wednesday’s match.

Porterville (3-1 EYL) was up 3-0 midway through singles, with No. 3 Joseph Catalina winning 6-3, 6-2; No. 4 Roman Ayon winning 6-3, 6-2 and No. 6 Landon Sharp winning 6-3, 6-1. But a sick Juan Cerros lost the No. 1 match 6-4, 6-1 and No. 5 Derek Perez lost 6-2, 6-4 to cut the Panthers’ lead to 3-2.

Still playing on the No. 2 court was Porterville’s Adrian Remigio, who dominated his first set 6-2. However up 5-4 during the second set, he suffered an ankle injury that halted the match. Remigio managed to return but lost the set 7-6. Then after being up 5-3 in the tiebreaker set, he lost it 10-5.

“It would’ve been different if we got the No. 5 and No. 2 [singles wins], we would’ve been up 5-1 but we were never winning No. 5,” PHS head coach Kurt Neilsen. “It’s not a good argument. But No. 2, we were ahead so it would’ve been different if we were ahead 4-2. [But] I don’t know, they swept us in doubles. They outplayed us in doubles. There’s no excuse, whether we were 100 percent. I don’t know what my No. 1 was feeling like [for doubles] and obviously Adrian sprained his ankle. But he looked like he was moving pretty well in doubles.”

Neilsen said Cerros told him he was sick during his No. 1 singles’ match but without any players on their bench Cerros had to play in the No. 1 doubles match alongside Catalina. The two had a 2-1 lead to start but things got shaky, and interesting, when they lost three straight to go down 5-2 but won the next three to tie the match at 5-all. They split the next two games but lost the final one to seal the Panthers’ fate.

Prior to the No. 1 loss, Remigio and Ayon had lost the No. 2 match 8-4 after starting out with a 3-2 lead. 

“We could’ve been up 4-2,” Neilsen said. “Would that have changed the tenor of it only having to get one doubles? I don’t know. But my No. 1 [doubles] team, whose been EYL champions, they lost 8-6. [Delano] came from 0-3 down and won six straight points. So that’s disappointing to be that close. And then it’s like the energy is sapped out of you when my No. 1 is saying he doesn’t feel well.”

The sweep was completed with the Panthers’ No. 3 Nate Prieto and Oscar Pacheco also losing 8-6.

With the loss Porterville moves to second place in the EYL and are tied with rival Monache (3-1 EYL). But with the Marauders losing just 5-4 to the Tigers (4-0 EYL) on Monday, then beating Tulare Western 5-4 Wednesday — a team Porterville beat 6-3 — Nielsen said Monache are the “favorites”.

“They’re way better than I thought they’d be,” Nielsen said. “It’s been awhile since we’ve been beaten by them. ... Pretty easy to sell that message to my team that you guys [are] third place right now. They’re the favorites. Based on comparative scores, we’re third place as far as I’m concerned. Technically tied for second but we’re going to have to play better when we play Monache.”

The first round of EYL play comes to an end Monday, March 25, when Porterville travels to Monache for a 4 p.m. match.

Monache 5

Tulare Western 4

Monache High School boys tennis defeated Tulare Western 5-4 Wednesday in an East Yosemite League match on the road.

Tied 4-4 after eight matches, Jake Buckley and Josue Orozco brought the Marauders the victory with an 8-6 win in the No. 1 doubles match.

Buckley had a stellar day in No. 3 singles as well. Down 1-0 after losing his first set 6-2, Buckley won the next set 6-2 and the tiebreaker 10-8.

Also in singles, No. 4 Johnny Hu won 6-0, 6-2; No. 5 Angel Cabrera won 6-4, 6-2 and No. 7 Nick Nuno won 6-1, 6-0. 

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