(Joe McHale / Lariat Staff)
Mount San Jacinto College made it a little easier for the Saddleback College women’s tennis team to win the Southern California Dual Team Regional quarter finals Tuesday (April 13).
The No. 1 Gauchos knocked off the No. 8 Eagles 5-0 in their seventh playoff appearance since coach Jay Amos took over in 2001.
“I’m trying to get the girls to realize that we want to come ready to play every time,” Amos said. “We got to come ready and focused everyday.”
The Gauchos needed five of nine possible points to move onto the Regional semi-finals next Tuesday.
After wins by Karley Pletcher, Avriel Tomaiko, and Michelle Neville, Saddleback found themselves the victors due to two wins by default. Mt. San Jacinto did not have their No. 6 single to face Carrisa Fleming, allowing the Gauchos to gain an immediate fourth win and raise Fleming’s win column to double digits. Her record is 10-2.
The Eagles were also without their No. 3 doubles team, resulting in the fifth and final win needed for Saddleback.
There was no need for the No. 1 and 2 singles, Erika Kagawa and Clara Kearney, to finish their matches because the Gauchos had already won.
Neville improved her overall record to 14-1, while teammate Pletcher also improved to 13-2.
Freshman standout, Avriel Tomaiko, continued her successful season by winning her 15th match in a dominating two games 6-2, 6-2. She also succeeded in staying unbeaten in singles thus far, the only player on the team to do so.
“We practice almost everyday,” Tomaiko said. “I practice on my own also, outside of our school practices.”
The next opponent to take on Saddleback in the playoffs is conference rival No. 4 Irvine Valley College. The matches are set to start next Tuesday (April 20) at 2 p.m. at the Saddleback tennis courts. The Gauchos got the best of the Lasers in their two matches this season, winning 8-1 and 7-2.
Though the road ahead does not seem to pose a major threat towards Saddleback, coach Amos does not want their previous success to cloud their goal.
“I like our chances,” he said. “That doesn’t guarantee anything. You got to play them each time.”
With the win over Mt. San Jacinto, Saddleback continued to make history preserving their perfect record, they stand 15-0.
“We need to focus, even if we’re undefeated we can’t let it get to our head,” Neville said. “We have to take every match as it comes, and play our game and don’t let anyone else try to get in the way.”