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Girls tennis team makes it CIF semi-finals

Anneline Breytenbach shows off the power and form that moved her into CIF play. Photo by Codi Carroll

The AHS varsity girls tennis team finished their season strong as the number four seed in CIF Division 2 after making it to the CIF semi-finals for the first time in many years. The team’s coach, Lori Bickel said, “I'm excited because even with the season over, the girls are committing to work and practice their game. The sky is the limit for what they can achieve next year. Perhaps even a CIF championship win?”

Bickel said she was, “...tremendously proud because our team’s depth earned us the #4 seed placement in our division. By itself that is an accomplishment, but it's another challenge to win enough matches to get there, which is exactly what our team did.” The Hounds finished their season with a 2-5 loss to Sanger on Nov. 7 in the CIF semi-finals.

In the second round of CIF on Nov. 5 the team won 5-4 in a close match against San Joaquin Memorial. Bickel said, “One of my favorite moments was our CIF win against San Joaquin Memorial because even though we had beat them once before, we knew it would be a battle. Not everyone was able to play in that match, but those who didn't play were still cheering and supporting the girls on the court. It was the sincerest expression of TEAM.” On Oct. 30 at the first CIF team match, the Hounds beat Nipomo with an 8-1 victory which allowed them to move forward.

At the Mountain League finals played at San Luis Obispo High School on Oct. 16 and 17, AHS had six players advance to the second day. Some of the highlights for the tournament are as follows: sophomore Kyla Stokes won 8-2 in her first round singles match against Paso Robles’ Abby Reimer. Senior Camille Redberg beat Righetti’s Kate Sutterfiled with a score of 8-0 in first round of singles. Senior Anneline Breytenbach had a first round bye and won 6-0, 6-1 in the second round against Paso Robles’ Cahryn Payne. Breytenbach then advanced to the third round and beat SLO’s Hannah Minnery 6-0, 6-0. Next she beat St. Joseph’s Emily Wilson, who was third seed in the competition overall. Finally, Breytenbach finished as second seed overall with her only loss being in the championship round to Arroyo Grande’s Peyton Dunkle, who won the Central Coast Regional Championships. Doubles team sophomores Kayla Basden and Kylie Sims won their doubles match 8-2 against Righetti.

Breytenbach, the Hounds’ star player, had a season record of 13 and 1 at the number one position, with her only loss being to Dunkle. Breytenbach was the fifth seed in the CIF Central Section Individual tournament and took fourth place overall. Redberg, the team’s other senior had a season record of 12 wins and only 2 losses at the number five position.

The team’s strong league play was what landed them a shot at the championship. The team beat Righetti 8-1 on Oct. 10 at Heilman Park in their final league match of the season. On Oct. 8 the Hounds lost 2-7 at a home match against San Luis Obispo. The team had a 6-3 victory over Paso Robles on Oct. 3 at Heilman Park. The Hounds lost to St. Joseph on Oct. 1 at SJHS with a score of 2-7. On Sept. 28 the Hounds played Clovis West in an out of league game and won 5-4. On Sept. 26 at AGHS the Hounds lost to Arroyo Grande 2-7. On Sept. 24 the team beat Righetti 7-2 at an away game at RHS. On Sept. 19 at Heilman Park the team lost 2-7 to San Luis Obispo. The Hounds had an exciting victory 7-2 against Paso Robles on Sept. 17 at PRHS. On Sept. 13 the team played hard Bakersfield Christian, but had another close loss of 4-5. On Sept. 12 the Hounds had a close match against St. Joseph, but lost 4-5. The team lost to Arroyo Grande 2-7 on Sept. 10 at Heilman Park. Bickel said, “My favorite part is the dedication of the team to play to their best. They practiced together and supported one another each and every match.”

To start off the season, the team played at the CA Tennis Classic in Fresno from Sept. 6-7. The Hounds faced off against San Joaquin Memorial on Sept. 7 and had a 4-2 victory. On Sept. 6 the team lost to Valley Christian 3-4. That same day the Hounds lost 2-4 to Bishop O’Dowd, but won against Clovis 4-3.

An early sign that the season was going to be one for the record books was early on when the Hounds had a victory over El Diamante on Sept. 3 at Heilman Park with a score of 6-3. On Aug. 22 the team faced off against Morro Bay at MBHS and won 8-1. The team started off the season with a scrimmage against Templeton on Aug. 20 at Heilman Park which was another early win for the Hounds 5-4. Those early defeats gave the Hounds the confidence they needed to go nearly all the way to the CIF Championships this year.

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