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Tennis Team Nets Section Victory
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Taking advantage of the opportunity to shake things up a little, Escalon tennis coach Dan Thompson tinkered with his line-up in advance of Tuesday's Division III quarterfinals.

The strategy worked, as the Cougars advanced in the CIF competition with a 4-1 win over Modesto Christian.

They hosted the MC squad on Tuesday, May 17.

"We almost swept them," said Thompson, who put players in certain spots to capitalize on their individual strengths.

Tyson Lane responded with a convincing 6-0, 6-0 win over David Barsamian in boys singles.

"He had a great result for the team," agreed Thompson.

Coral Rocha went in at girls singles and battled against the top seed girl from Modesto Christian before falling in three sets, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.

"The final set was close," Thompson noted. "Our girls doubles, Tiffany McGuire and Brittany Rigg, won their match in three sets, they dropped the first and got a nice come from behind win."

The duo topped Sarah Jolliff and Sarah Galars, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(6).

In mixed doubles, Grant Tower teamed with Staci Gentry to roll past Boyd Vander Veen and Ashleigh Jewell, 6-2, 7-5.

The clincher came in the boys doubles competition, with the Cougars already having two wins in hand - the boys singles and the mixed doubles - and needing just one more for the victory.

"Rick Drewrey and Brandon Longstreth went three sets and they lost the first one," noted Thompson. "That was kind of a nerve-wracking match to watch because it was for the win."

The two dropped the first set to Earl Espinosa and Carlos Sanchez, 4-6, before rebounding to clinch the win with a 6-4, 6-2 verdict in sets two and three.

"That put us into the semifinal at Oak Park in Stockton on Thursday," Thompson said. "We had to face a team called Vanden and they were stacked, we lost 4-1."

Thompson said he opted to go back to his usual placement of players, sending top boy Grant Tower into the singles.

"He lost in two sets but it was close," Thompson said. "Brittany Rigg is probably our best girl player right now and she lost in the singles, 6-0, 6-0 to the section finalist."

Boys doubles, with Gui Carneiro and Tyson Lane teaming up, pulled off the only win for the Cougars in the semifinal match.

"Our mixed doubles, Drewrey and McGuire, lost in two sets and the second one went to a tiebreaker," explained Thompson. "Our girls doubles, Rocha and Breanne Cardoza, lost in straight sets...there was just no way around this team."

Vanden went on to win the Division III crown.

"We lost to the champions, so that's a nice consolation prize," said Thompson. "They beat Mira Loma 3-2 in the finals."

Escalon was the Trans-Valley League champion with an 11-1 mark in league play and Tower was named as the league's boy MVP, going 12-0 in TVL competition. Named to the first team were Drewrey, 11-1 and Lane, 8-4. Honorable mention went to Robert Stocks and Brandon Longstreth. On the girls side, first team selections were Rigg, 12-0, and McGuire, 11-1. Receiving honorable mention were Rocha, Gentry and Cardoza.

"A coach can only set expectations but to see the team exceed them, I'm just real proud of the team this season," said Thompson.