ATASCADERO — The Atascadero High School Greyhounds girls tennis team hosted El Diamante on a blistering Tuesday afternoon at Heilman Park and moved to 2-0 on the season with a 6-3 victory.
It was the strength of the girls singles that led them to victory in their second match of the season taking five of the six singles matches. Both Anneline Breytenbach, who currently holds the Hounds No. 1 spot, and Isabella Sanchez, who played in the No. 4 position, won their matches handily 6-0, 6-1, and Kyla Stokes, who played in the No. 6 position, was right behind them winning her match 6-1, 6-1.
The match of the afternoon, however, goes unquestionably to Atascadero’s Micaela Sanchez and El Diamante’s Sunny Lilliefosse who needed a third-set tiebreaker to decide a winner. Lilliefosse claimed the first 6-4 but Sanchez came out in the second set on fire and cruised to a 6-0 win to force a final third set. The final set was the closest of the three with both girls battling it out to score a point for their team but in the end, it was Sanchez who earned the victory with an 11-9 win in the final set.
The Hounds’ fifth singles point came from their No. 3 position Noella Breytenbach, who also played a nice competitive match with her opponent Leah Leal but it was Breytenbach who proved to be better on Tuesday winning 6-4, 6-3.
When the match turned to doubles play, the Hounds already had the match in hand with five points and brought out six fresh players and were able to grab another point as the team of Camille Redberg and Elyssa Soto defeated their opponents 8-1
“The girls exhibited great teamwork yesterday [Tuesday],” Atascadero head coach Lori Bickel said. “The thing that I am most pleased with is this is the third match that we have been able to secure a win utilizing all of our players. So everyone is contributing as a team member to the win.”
The girls Mountain League season will officially begin Tuesday when they host Arroyo Grande but will have one last important tune-up this weekend before they finalize their lineups. Atascadero will be playing in the California Tennis Classic this weekend with three matches on Friday and two matches on Saturday. The CTC is a little different in that each match features three doubles and three singles competitions but, the tournament also allows coaches to change their lineup for every match.
“Last year, we had to start the season before we went to Clovis and it was just harder because you are guessing a lot more with what you’ve got,” Bickel explained. “We have to put together a ladder now before the season starts and that ladder stays until midseason and so with Clovis, we will have better opportunities to put that together with some real knowledge.”
For the Hounds scrimmage and their first two preseason matches, Bickel has been tinkering with the lineup and after this weekend she will have a great feel of which doubles teams work well together.
The Hounds are still currently in Division 1 in the Central Section for tennis and the Mountain League is stacked with some great players but the young Hounds team is hungry to win and has made a commitment to improving.
“We want to win, for sure, there is no doubt about it, but this season is about improving and as long as we are continuing to improve I think the wins will come along with that,” Bickel explained. “It might be a tough go to win CIF but maybe we can go further than we have ever gone before and that would be a win for us as well.”