The top two girls tennis teams in the seven-team Blossom Valley Athletic League West Valley Division are both in the city of Gilroy.
On Monday afternoon, Gilroy High hosted cross-town rival Christopher High in the battle of unbeatens.
In the end, the scoreboard showed the Cougars beating the Mustangs in sweeping fashion, 7-0, and kept their perfect record intact.
With the win, Christopher improved to 6-0 both overall and in league play, while Gilroy slipped to 5-1 but staying ahead of the West Valley Division pack in Andrew Hill, Gunderson, Mt. Pleasant, Overfelt and San Jose high schools.
A lot was at stake in terms of staying atop the league standings, but the big winner was local girls tennis.
During the introductions at the start of the contest, Gilroy head coach Ray Blagof characterized the day when he first turned to the visitors.
“You’re undefeated,” Blagof said. “Oh, we are too.”
Smiles and cupcakes along with a team picture made for enjoyment after the tennis match concluded. The contest, on a sunny warm afternoon, drew a relatively large crowd of fans to watch elite tennis in Gilroy.
For now, the Cougars have sole possession of the BVAL West Valley Division lead. Their last league crown came in 2019, on a Christopher team which included Jasmine Carreon’s older sister Itzel Carreon at No. 1 singles.
Jasmine Carreon said she became interested in the sport by “tagging along” when her older sister played. Now she leads another Cougars team, one that hopes to bring back to Christopher a first-place banner to match the one that her older sister and teammates earned four years ago.
Christopher’s singles quartet is amazingly young. The top two, Carreon and Victoria Gonzalez-O’Donoghue, are both freshmen.
In the third singles position is a sophomore, Alexa Rodriguez, while senior Sumaya Owens is slotted fourth and has seen the Cougars’ rise as there were no seasons in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. The last two years coincide with the tenure of Christopher head coach Megan Lyons.
“It’s fun,” Owens said. “I didn’t expect the team to do so well this season. It’s really surprising. I’m excited for the next couple of games.”
In the featured match, Carreon defeated Gilroy’s Evie Louttit in straight sets (6-0, 6-2).
“I really like to play against someone good and I knew she is good,” Carreon said. “I knew today would be challenging. The key was my placement.”
Early in the contest, Carreon won points with solid ground strokes while keeping errors to a bare minimum. Her hard, accurate shots chased Louttit from side to side. Louttit had strong volleys but Carreon kept her off balance, especially in the first set.
“She is a crazy good player,” Louttit said. “She has really good topspin shots. My first set was definitely getting in the hang of things. In the second, I focused more on going up to the net and hitting topspin.”
Gonzalez-O’Donohue won at No. 2 singles in two sets (6-1, 6-2) over Brooke Sanders, and Rodriguez captured the No. 3 singles match over Dania Mercado, also in straight sets (6-4, 6-1).
Owens completed the singles sweep with a sweeping (6-0, 6-0) win over Briana Martinez. The doubles results all went Christopher’s way also.
“I have an amazing group of girls,” Lyons said. “I am so proud of them. They have been working really hard. We have won every game 7-0 and never even dropped a set. I have a great team that gets along well. Mainly, I want them to enjoy the game. “
The three doubles teams were a key part of the Christopher victory. Depth is crucial in tennis as each match counts the same—a single point.
The Cougars’ top doubles pair of Tatiana Canseco and Ashlyn Platt defeated Gilroy’s Juann Alonson and Jade Cuevas in two sets (6-4, 6-1).
In the No. 2 doubles match, Melanie Reynolds and Stephanie Wong topped Chau Nguyen and Daniela Lopez-Dominguez in straight sets (6-1, 6-2). At the No. 3 spot, Kendall Disiato and Kailyn Santigo triumphed over Francesca Perez and Nataly Deryra-Gutierrez by a tally of 6-2, 6-2.
“We fought hard but it’s one of those days,” Blagof said. “Overall we’re 5-1. We’re looking to finish top two in league, which gets us into the playoffs. It’s a great group of girls. They always give a good team effort and have great energy.”
The Mustangs will be fired up to see the Cougars on the other side of the double round-robin in the teams’ second match slated for Oct. 19 at Christopher High.
Next up, Christopher will host Mt. Pleasant, while Gilroy looks to rebound at Andrew Hill. Both matches are slated for Wednesday at 4pm.