It was a history making season for the Corcoran High school boys’ tennis team however, according to Coach Nelson Zavala, the boys have been working on it since 2014. Last week, CHS won the Division 5 Valley title after beating Sierra Pacific of Hanford. The win was hard fought and was against one of Corcoran’s toughest opponents.
Corcoran at 20-1 overall and 13-1 in East Sequoia League action posted their only loss of the season to Sierra Pacific on April 12. Despite the loss, CHS was seeded number one and cruised through valley play-offs defeating Caruthers 9-0 and Firebaugh 8-1, CHS was set to host the valley finals against Sierra Pacific.
In singles action, Corcoran was down 2-3 after losses by Everardo Ramirez, Gilbert Martinez and Emmett Gonzales. Singles winners were Gabriel Zepeda and Cesar Angulo. The final singles match came down to Fernando Loaiza.
“Fernando’s match was very vital to us. We needed his win to tie the match up,” added Coach Zavala. “Fernando ended up losing the first set but I knew he would take the second. During the set point for the second set, Fernando actually won the point but rolled his ankle in the process and was down for a couple of minutes. I told him right there that he needed to step up and win the super tie-breaker and he said ‘Don’t worry I got it”.
Loaiza dominated the super tiebreaker and gave Corcoran the third win they needed going into doubles.
Tied 3-3, Zavala said he was feeling quite confident that the team would get the two more wins they need.
“I knew second doubles would come through and it was first doubles that we all had our eyes. We only beat Sierra Pacific one time in doubles out of the six doubles matches played during league,” noted Coach Zavala. “I knew my team wouldn’t let me down in doubles.”
And, they didn’t let him down. Second doubles team of Gabriel Zepeda and Gilbert Martinez won their match 6-2, 6-2.
Doubles team of Emmett Gonzales and Everardo Ramirez started off behind a set and had to fight their way back for the win.
“Knowing we were down a set and second doubles was up a set, we knew they had good chances of winning and that it would come down to us,” Emmett Gonzales said. Once we started getting back to playing our game and forcing a tiebreak we just made sure each of us was doing exactly what we were doing before and keeping each other calm. We kept making jokes to each other to help relieve some of the pressure and help us relax a bit”.
And that strategy paid off for the doubles dream team who came from behind to win the match 1-6, 6-2, 10-8.
“Knowing Sierra Pacific had beaten us once before we knew it was going to be a tough match so we all practiced really hard the last couple of weeks. Harder than we had all season,” Gonzales added.
As a high school senior in 2014, Zavala said the current varsity team were just freshmen and from there were working hard to get better.
“We practiced all year long since 2014 and we knew our hard work would be rewarded,” Zavala said. “It feels unreal knowing that we made history by not only winning Valley but being the first to do it in school history.”
Gonzales said he was happy with the win and is looking forward to next season.
“It feels amazing, almost like a dream,” he commented. “I can’t wait to see what next year has in store for us.”
Zavala also has his sights set on more great seasons to come as well as another championship.
“With most of the team returning I see another championship in our favor,” Zavala said. “We’re only losing our third doubles and I have a vast amount of players to choose from and all of these players are ready to step up for they too know that we will continue to rise.”