Porterville tops Monache 7-2, now 4-1 in EYL

The first round of girls tennis in the East Yosemite League closed out Wednesday with Porterville High School defeating rival Monache 7-2 on the road.

The Panthers (4-1 EYL) picked up the win in singles, but not until after the No. 3 doubles had begun.

Porterville had a 4-1 lead over Monache (1-4 EYL) but a close match was playing out on the No. 4 court between the Panthers’ Erica Palad and the Marauders’ Jenna Keller. Palad had won the first set 6-1 but was trailing 5-4.

“We were down 5-4 so I was thinking, worst case we lose a third-set tiebreaker and this could be 4-2 in singles,” PHS head coach Kurt Nielsen said. “That’s why I put Jewelia (Maniss) in third doubles, and they won 8-1. As it turns out Erica came back and won 7-5.”

Alongside Palad’s 6-1, 7-5 win, Porterville won singles in a dominating fashion. No. 2 Sierra Mitchel won 6-1, 6-1; No. 3 Maniss won 6-1, 6-2; No. 5 Zeila Rivera won 6-1, 6-2; and No. 6 Lizbeth Martinez won 6-1, 6-0. 

“We’ve been playing pretty well since that (Tulare) Union win so I expected them to play pretty well but it’s always — rivalry matches or games — anything can happen,” Nielsen said. “How many times have you seen that in other sports? So I never look past anybody. I knew they weren’t as strong this year, they lost six out of nine people. But still, it’s Monache. We’ve had some crazy results.”

The only loss the Panthers had in singles was in the No. 1 match where Abigail Sotelo won 6-4, 6-2 for the Marauders. 

Maniss and Jazlynne Medrano’s 8-1 win in the No. 3 doubles was the first of two wins for Porterville. Mitchel and Chloe Weaver also won the No. 1 doubles 8-0.

In the No. 2 doubles, Monache’s Sotelo and Evelyn Caballero lost a 4-1 lead and were trailing 6-5 before winning the next three games for an 8-6 win.

“Like we said in the beginning, it’s a learning experience for most of the kids and we’re still seeing some glimpses of good tennis,” Perez said. “But it’s streaky and that’s what we’ve got to improve on in the second half.”

One of the main areas of improvement Perez is hoping to improve on is consistency.

“I think just more consistent tennis,” Perez said. “Which we hope will equate to a few more wins in each match.”

Porterville is sitting high in league with their main competition being undefeated Tulare Western (4-0 EYL), as well as Tulare Union (3-1). The result of the Western and Union match wasn’t available as of press time but if Western lost, the EYL would have a three-way tie for first place. If the Mustangs win, the Panthers are in sole possession of second..

The second round of EYL begins Monday, Oct. 7 when Porterville hosts Mission Oak and Monache travels to Tulare Union

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