Monache drops EYL opener 6-3 to Tulare Union

The young Monache High School girls tennis team got their first taste of East Yosemite League play with a 6-3 loss to Tulare Union at home Wednesday.

One of the best matches of the day was between No. 1's Abigail Sotelo of Monache (1-7, 0-1 EYL) and Maddie Rodriguez of Tulare. Rodriguez took the first set 6-2 but Sotelo won the second 6-3 by winning the last three games. However, Rodriguez came away the winner with a 10-6 win in the tiebreaker set.

“In a match this tight, I think that she made a couple of errors in a critical time in that third set tiebreaker,” MHS head coach Gary Perez said about Sotelo. “The rest of the time I thought she played well, I thought she executed the game plan well. Maddie's got a lot more court experience than Abby does, and ultimately Maddie came out on top.

“We had two matches go into the third set tiebreaker and (if) a couple points could've gone our way we would've had that No. 1 match,” Perez said. “I think Maddie Rodriguez from Tulare is the No. 1 player in the league so I thought that was a real good performance by Abby.”

Also winning the second set and sending her match to a tiebreaker was Monache's No. 4 Jenna Keller. Keller lost the first set 6-0 but won 6-2 before dropping the tiebreaker 10-2.

The Marauders only win in singles came from No. 5 Evelyn Caballero, who won 6-3, 6-3 despite early deficits.

“Here again, this is a very young team,” Perez said. “We've got five players with no varsity experience. We've got one that only started six weeks ago playing tennis. You're seeing some of them start to play better tennis.”

Although they lost the match in singles, Monache won the doubles portion 2-1. Caballero and Sotelo won the No. 2 match 8-3 while No. 3 Alexa Baez and Faith Sirivong held off their opponents to win 8-5.

“I think, yeah we are seeing some (improve),” Perez said. “And some have a lot more to go. Having said all that we still have a ways to go. Garnering some experience from the tournament in Visalia, just the preseason play and every league match, as long as we see improvement — that's what we're looking for at this particular part.”

Monache's next match is Monday, Sept. 23 at Mission Oak. Perez knows league will be tough but it doesn't mean the Marauders don't plan on making some noise.

“I would say that if we are fortunate to grab three, four wins, that would be a positive for us,” Perez said. “But we're sure going to try and be a spoiler as much as we can.”  

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