Freshman Emily Barham secures Cougars’ lone point in loss to
Freshman Emily Barham didn’t want any excessive encouragement from teammates during her No. 1-singles match against Watsonville’s Rachel Banuelos on Tuesday at Christopher High. According to Barham, it “jinxes” her mind.
“I over-analyze stuff sometimes,” Barham said.
With conditions as she prefers, Barham was all business in picking up her first varsity regular-season win, securing the Christopher High girls varsity tennis team’s lone point in a 6-1 loss to the Wildcatz.
“My serve was working very well,” Barham said. I got a new second serve. It’s a spin serve so it’s not just a little bloop that people smash.”
Engaged in a tight match with Banuelos from start to finish, Barham eventually won in straight sets 7-6, 6-3, but it took a first-set tiebreaker and a come-from-behind effort in the second set to notch the point.
Trailing 3-1 in the second set and 15-40 in the fifth game, Barham rallied to save the game and pull within one. The freshman broke Banuelos’ serve to tie the set 3-3 and proceeded to take the next three games for the set and match triumph.
“I was very unhappy about that,” Barham said about trailing early on in the second set. “I just made myself think positive thoughts.”
The Cougars starting lineup on Tuesday – four singles players and three doubles teams – included one junior, one freshman and eight sophomores. The experience of Watsonville’s players showed in the other six matches as the Wildcatz topped the Cougars in each.
“We are starting to get better, which is good,” said Barham, who was anxious to get home and start her homework – another motivation for her comeback win.
“I’m seeing them increase their skill level every time out,” Cougars head coach Patrick McBrearty said. “As they get better and more into the competition they are improving.”
The Cougars are currently 0-3 in a depleted Monterey Bay League, which lost two teams – Pajaro Valley ans Seaside – before the season began.
With only four teams in the league, each squad plays the other three times. Watsonville is the defending league champion.
“This is a good opportunity and year for them to learn the game and have fun at it too,” McBrearty said. “It’s critical for them to enjoy what they are doing.”
Emily Barham def. Rachel Banuelos, 7-6, 6-3
Sara Benavidez def. Shelby O’Hara, 6-2, 6-0
Sandra Mendoza def. Nubia Juarez, 6-0, 6-1
Emma Ahern def. Megan Newton, 6-1, 6-2
Shayla Lopez and Janet Ledesma def.
Sierra Smith and Shilo Banderas, 6-0, 6-0
Rubi Magdaleno and Tania Hernandez def.
Samantha Sarabia and Karoline Velazquez, 6-2, 6-3
Felicia Ball and Teresa Medrano def.
Kayla Martinez and Jenni Sigl, 6-1, 6-1