Some strong players and some just learning the intricacies of the sport have made for an interesting season on the courts for Riverbank tennis.
Head coach Bruce Edwards said the team currently has three wins and five losses in Trans-Valley League play, and the bulk of the losses have come by 5-4 finals.
“We had seven kids graduate, and six kids that did not come back out this year,” Edwards said. “We are learning, and the kids that are out there are committed.”
The most recent action for the Bruin netters was against Modesto Christian on Friday, April 11 and it was another close defeat, 5-4.
Winners were Juan Alfaro at first boys singles, 7-6, 7-6 and Nathaniel Martinez at second boys singles, 6-4, 6-4. Linda Erazo at girls number one singles played to a 6-2, 6-2, win and the first boys doubles team of Rigo Garcia and Eliseo Gonzalez also was victorious, 6-2, 7-6.
Taking losses were second girls singles Socorro Medina, second boys doubles Martin Baltazaar and Eduardo Estrada. Also, both girls doubles tandems fell to visiting Modesto Christian, Gracie Meza and Ashley Murrillo at first and the second girls doubles by forfeit. Mixed doubles for Riverbank, Marcos Viera and Vanessa Argumedo, fell in straight sets.
“We are rebuilding,” Edwards said. “We will be much more solid next year if they stick with it.”
The only senior on the team, Juan Alfaro, has become a steadying presence for the squad, said Edwards.
“He has developed very nicely, he has the best record (TVL boys singles) for the second half of the season so far,” the coach explained. “Juan has worked very hard, he has really come a long way, has a really strong mental approach to the game and there are so many different shots he can hit, he works his tail off.”
Also making steady improvement is Linda Erazo at number one girls, with the junior defeating everyone she has faced so far except Escalon’s Taylor Laugero. Sophomore Nathaniel Martinez has also lost just once, to an Escalon opponent, at the number two boys slot and looks to keep improving.
“Our boys number one doubles, they lost to Ripon, but they are both sophomores,” Edwards said of Rigo Garcia and Eliseo Gonzalez playing strong and working well together as they stay near the top of the pack in league play. “Along the boys side we are very strong, we just don’t have enough depth.”
Still, the coach has been pleased with the work ethic, with players taking practices seriously and knowing they have to put in the work on the practice court to get a chance on game day. He said they all need to continue working, throughout the summer and off season, to improve and be ready for TVL play next season.
They were scheduled to play at Ripon on Tuesday, April 15 after The News went to press and are off next week for spring break. Their final TVL match is scheduled at Hughson on Tuesday, April 29.
“The kids are out there and dedicated, I am very strict on making practices; I think it will help the team in the long run,” Edwards said. “This is just a great group; I wouldn’t trade them for anyone in the league.”