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Netters Finish League Campaign With Loss
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Closing out the regular season on the road, Escalon tennis players fell just short of a Trans-Valley League title, losing in Livingston on Tuesday, May 4.

It was their second loss of the season to Livingston, leaving both teams at 9-3 in league play. Ripon Christian, at 10-2, claimed the league title and with the second loss to Livingston, the Cougars dropped to third place behind the Wolves.

"It was a heartbreaker because we really thought we could challenge for the league title," said coach Dan Thompson.

Grant Tower battled in his boys number one singles match, topping Michael Blaine 7-5, 6-1. John-David Brown got a start in singles play and lost in a straight sets match, 6-1, 6-2.

"He had never played singles before but I did want to get him the experience," noted Thompson.

Megan McCoid also battled in the number one girls singles slot, eventually losing a 7-6(7-0), 6-4 decision. Alicia Amarant played at number two girls singles for the Cougars, falling 6-3, 6-3.

"That's one I was counting on us winning, it was a lot of pressure to put on her," Thompson admitted.

Doubles play saw Brian Avila and Dallen Strong team up.

"They won the first set, dropped the second and battled in the third but were unable to hang on," said Thompson.

Girls doubles Kristin Anderson and Brittany Rigg were straight sets winners, 6-3, 6-2 and Ben Wiele teamed with Stephanie Franklin in the mixed doubles to take an easy 6-0, 6-4 win.

"They looked real strong, made a good team," noted Thompson.

Still, the losses on the day outweighed the wins and the Cougars had to settle for a third place finish overall in league play.

"I'm happy with it," Thompson said, noting that the team has several sophomores that got solid court time this season, boding well for the coming year.

At the Trans-Valley League championships over the weekend, the Cougars earned victories at both boys singles and girls doubles, coming home with the individual crowns.

"Grant got a bye in his first match, then he won two matches and he beat Michael Blaine from Livingston for the championship," Thompson said. "He was full of confidence, I saw more variety in his game than I've ever seen before, that shows he's learning more of the strategy behind the game."

Alicia Amarant and Kristin Anderson were teamed up for girls doubles in the TVL tourney, earning a bye in the first round and then topping all opponents, including shutting down Ripon Christian in the championship round.

"That was nice, they got a little revenge," said Thompson.

Also playing in boys singles at the tournament was Wiele, who went out in the opening round on Friday. He got to come back Saturday for doubles play, teamed with Andy Ward and the two won a first round match before bowing out in the second.

"They battled Hughson and the match went three sets, they lost it in the third, 6-4," Thompson explained.

Rick Drewrey and Brittany Rigg teamed up in mixed doubles, the two sophomores getting some valuable court time in the tournament.

"They went out in a first round match loss but they are both looking forward to next year already," said Thompson.

With the league championship titles now in hand, Tower and the team of Amarant and Anderson will continue on to the Section Tournament, with games slated for today, Wednesday, May 12 at Oak Park in Stockton.

All-League selections for the Cougars included Tower, Amarant and Anderson, with honorable mention going to Wiele, Kate Thompson, Drewrey and Rigg.