With one previously rained out match on the schedule this week, the Cougar tennis team was busy three straight days, twice going on the road and once hosting a Trans-Valley League rival.
They started the grind with a Tuesday, April 11 match at Hughson, were home to host Ripon on Wednesday and went to Mountain House on Thursday. The Cougars fell in all three matches, losing 6-3 to both Hughson and Ripon, 7-2 at Mountain House.
“Our number one girls singles player, Brooklyn Berry, was out sick, so we had to shift our entire line up,” head coach Staci Diaz said of the Tuesday match at Hughson. “All the girls played in a different position or with a different partner, so it really challenged us. I was proud of every player for stepping up and trying their best.”
Wins in that contest for Escalon came from Michael Gaines at number two boys singles, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3; boys number one doubles Sahil Prasad and Jevan Salyer, 6-2, 6-0 and girls number one doubles Elizabeth Shelley and Amanda Salvador 7-6 (7-1), 6-2.
“Elizabeth and Amanda played great together, and Michael Gaines worked hard for his three-set win,” noted Diaz. “Jevan and Sahil played the best I’ve ever seen them play. Even though it didn’t go our way, it was fun to watch.”
Hosting Ripon on Wednesday, the Cougars again battled but didn’t have quite enough to get past the visiting Indians.
Gaines picked up his second singles win of the week, with both girls doubles teams also coming away victorious. Gaines battled to a 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 victory. Shelley and Salvador teamed up again, this time for a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 win and the number two pairing of Anabelle Shafter and Mikayla Schut winning 6-2, 5-7, 7-5.
“All of our wins came from three-set matches. Michael Gaines played great and really focused in the third set,” Diaz said. “Anabelle and Mikayla worked hard for their win today. It was fun to watch them play. Elizabeth and Amanda changed their strategy which led them to win the match.”
Host Mountain House galloped to a 7-2 victory on Thursday, the final match of the week and the last prior to the long Spring Break holiday. Winners for Escalon on the day were the traditional girls number two doubles team of Shelley and Schut, taking down their Mustang opponents in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4 and the mixed doubles team of Mya Beary and Jack Fitzgerald easily defeating their opponents, 6-0, 6-1. None of the matches in the contest went past two sets for the Cougars, win or lose.