The Yuba College tennis team had a season to remember as it sent three players to the state tournament held in Stockton.Yuba coach Josh Prager said this is the first time in at least 15 years for the 49ers to send players to the state tournament.
The only singles player to advance to state was Becky Kiehn; the doubles team of Anton Talle and Matt Rodrigues also advanced.Kiehn advanced to the state tournament after she defeated DeAnza’s No. 5 seed Yukiko Kitamura 6-3, 7-6 in the first round at the Northern California Championships held at the Yuba City Racquet and Health Club. She then went on to beat the No. 11 seed of Modesto, Iylla Dosenbach, 6-3, 6-2. Kiehn went into the tournament unseeded.The team of Talle and Rodrigues advanced after they defeated teams from Porterville and Modesto. Talle and Rodrigues were seeded as the No. 12 seed.
In other matches at the championships, Kiehn and Jennie Miracle lost their doubles match, while the team of John Lester and Neil Hilleary also lost their doubles match. Lester also lost in singles competition, ending a successful year for him.
In the state tournament, Kiehn lost to Grossmont’s Kumiko Yoshida, 6-2, 6-2. Yoshida is the state’s No. 2 ranked player. Talle and Rodrigues were beaten by a team from Ventura, 6-3, 7-5.
“I think Anton and Becky are the two best players in Yuba history,” said coach Prager. “Becky’s one of the top 16 players in the state, and by next year, she’ll probably be in the top five in state.”
At an earlier tournament this year, the Ojai Tournament, the 49ers team fared well out of the 51 teams competing in Southern California.Miracle won her first-round match 6-2, 6-2 against an opponent from Southwestern. She then lost to a player from Los Angeles City 6-2, 6-3. Lester won his opening match against a player from San Joaquin Delta 6-1, 6-2, and then lost to an opponent from Grossmont 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.
The doubles team of Talle and Rodrigues had a bye in the first round and beat Bakersfield 2-6, 6-2, 6-2. Next came Southwestern, who they beat 6-4, 3-6, 6-1. The team then lost to the No. 1 seed from Grossmont, 6-1, 7-6.
Also in singles competition, Talle and Kiehn lost their matches.This year, the 49ers tennis team also had many players named as the Yuba College Athletes of the Week. Kiehn won the award after she qualified for the state tournament by defeating players from DeAnza and Modesto. Talle and Rodrigues were named co-Athletes of the Week. This came after the Ojai Tournament where Talle and Rodrigues teamed up to win two matches.
The 49ers will lose Talle to graduation after this year, but coach Prager said Lester brings the same type of game that Talle brought this year. Kiehn will be back with the 49ers next year to keep the nucleus of the women’s team intact.
“It was the best season in Yuba College tennis history,” said coach Prager.