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Moving On Program, Doubles Teams Qualify For Tennis Postseason
A third place finish among all coed tennis programs in the Trans-Valley League has secured Riverbank High a place in next week's first round of the 20-team Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs.

But even if Riverbank falls to a top-seeded power from one of six other conferences, their season won't end there.

Two Bruin doubles tandems landed top-two finishes at the TVL finals tournament to see advancement's to the SJS individual postseason opener on May 5 in Stockton.

Singles standouts Eric Hernandez and Armando Rodriguez teamed up for a dominant doubles tandem that finished first in their division. Riverbank's season-long highlight on the doubles court - Ashley Tristao and Monica Perez - also finished second in the top doubles bracket to see extra contests this season.

Hernandez and Rodriguez both struggled in the TVL singles rounds at the Sportsmen of Stanislaus Club in Modesto on Wednesday, but bounced back the following day to overcome an early deficit and finish the TVL season strong.

They trailed 2-5 after seven sets in their opening match, but won five straight sets before repeated victories as a first place finish in one of seven competing brackets. Escalon, which dominated the TVL campaign with an undefeated romp, took the remaining six bracket championships.

"I knew they had the skill to do it, but I wasn't sure if they could come together as a team after playing singles all season," Riverbank coach Brandon Harker said. "They were down early in their first match, but started hunting down every ball and started playing great as a team."

Tristao and Perez had been sharp all season on the doubles court. That success led the pair to a boisterous run at the league tournament and eventual second place finish to Escalon's Mary Merseth and Michelle Pinasco.

"They were good all season and they did everything they were hoping for," coach Harker said. "It's been a great year for them."

The team playoffs begin on May 2, and the Bruins will travel to see a first or second place seed from the Golden Empire League, Mother Lode League, Pioneer Valley League, Sierra Delta League, Southern League or Sierra Valley League.

The same conferences will send individual playoff qualifiers to Oak Park in Stockton on May 5 for another postseason bracket.

"It's been a really exciting year," coach Harker said. "We are going to get a chance to see some teams that we wouldn't normally face."