Women win last home match

Demethrasis Blackmon

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With the lights of Memorial Stadium looming on the horizon, and the cheers from the Bakersfield College softball fans echoing in the distance, the BC women’s tennis team earned a victory in its final home contest of the season against Allan Hancock.

All season long, the ‘Gades have had to overcome an immediate disadvantage before they even stepped on the court. Since every match counts for a point, teams have to forfeit the matches they don’t have players to compete in.

“Given the situation that we were short on players, we’re down 3-0 every time we start a match,” said BC head coach Keith Hinds. “We have no room for error. We have to win five of the six matches on the court every time for us to win.”

Shanna Kwock, who was competing despite an injured right wrist, scored a 6-0 and 6-3 against Natalia Valles. But it was the play of No. 4 Paloma Rivera that proved to be the difference.

“I thought the biggest key was Paloma’s win at No. 4 singles. That set the table for us,” Hinds said. “It made it so that we only had to win one of the double matches.”

Rivera dropped the first set against Diana Aquilizan 6-3, but rallied to win the second set in a tiebreaker 7-6, (7-5) before closing the match 6-2 in the third set.

“We just have fun,” Rivera said. “I personally just take it as a game. Everybody stays positive.”

Brenda O’Doherty and Crystal Hageman both won their singles matches in three sets. Hageman defeated Kelli Bornhoft after winning the first set in a tiebreaker 7-6, (8-6), 6-3. O’Doherty won her match in three sets 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.

“At different times everybody had to come through and at different times they all did,” Hinds said. “I think it was a total team victory.”

The ‘Gades will play in the Western State Conference tournament in Ventura on April 18-20 Hinds said. They will play in the Ojai Tournament in Ventura on April 25-28. The teams will play to the quarterfinal rounds with the remaining eight players qualifying for the Southern California regionals on May 2-4.

A class organization was the phrase Allan Hancock head coach Jack Hawkins used to describe the Bakersfield College women’s tennis program.

“They took it to us,” Hawkins said after the match. “They earned it. They played well. Now, if you can just get me to Sonic Drive-In, I’ll forgive him for the butt-kicking they gave us.”

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