Although the Bret Harte High School tennis team is still searching for its first Mother Lode League victory of the 2022 season, it continues to make positive strides in the right direction.
On Tuesday, the Bullfrogs fell at home to the Amador Buffaloes 6-3 but rebounded nicely on Thursday with a rare 3-3 tie against the Summerville Bears in Tuolumne.
Against Amador, Bret Harte’s No. 1 boys’ singles player Bennett Livanos lost to Amador’s Ethan Krieshock 6-2, 6-0. In the boys’ No. 2 singles match, Bret Harte’s Bradley Ransom lost to Amador’s Myles Newton 6-0, 6-1. The Bullfrogs were unable to field a boys’ doubles team and took two losses via forfeit.
In the No. 1 girls’ singles match, Bret Harte sophomore Jamee Zahniser lost to Amador’s Kelsey Patterson 6-0, 6-2. The Bullfrogs got a victory in the No. 2 girls’ singles match, as junior Caroline Krpan beat Scout Kasinger 5-7, 6-2, (10-6).
The strength of the Bret Harte tennis team seems to be its girls’ doubles. In the No. 1 girls’ doubles match, the Bullfrog duo of freshman Olivia Burke and sophomore Meredith Grotto beat Rebecca Wilson and Lena White 6-3, 6-0. And in the No. 2 girls’ doubles match, Bret Harte senior Janessa Dolan and freshman Melanie Barraza knocked off Sarah Waverly and Toni Acuna 0-6, 7-5, (10-8). And in mixed doubles, Bret Harte’s Trent Livanos and Madison Onstad lost to Emily Likiss and Carter Devore 6-2, 6-2.
Following the match with Amador, Bret Harte head coach Mike Stange said, “We made great improvements that are starting to be seen throughout the lineup. I was encouraged and entertained with good match play today. “
On Thursday, Bret Harte played the Summerville Bears to a 3-3 tie in Tuolumne. Ties are very rare in tennis, according to Stange.
“It’s the first one I have had in my entire career at any level, as a player or coach,” Stange said. “The circumstances just worked out that way where both teams had the exact same number of players and each team fielded six matches instead of an odd number of matches, which led to the possibility of a tie.”
In the boys’ No. 1 singles match, Livanos lost to Summerville’s Aliou Tippett 6-0, 7-5. There was no boys’ No. 2 singles match. In the No. 1 girls’ singles match, Zahniser lost to Summerville’s Kiana Thomas 6-1, 6-0. And in the No. 2 girls’ singles match, Krpan fell to Summerville’s Elise Mendezona 6-0, 6-2.
After getting no victories in individual competition, Bret Harte dominated in doubles play. The No. 1 boys’ doubles team of Ransom and Trent Livanos beat the Summerville duo of Austin Auld and CJ Bressel 6-4, 6-2. In the No. 1 girls’ doubles match, Burke and Grotto beat Annika Cardinal and Katie Jaggers 6-1, 6-4. And in the No. 2 girls’ doubles match, Barraza and Onstad knocked off Bella Wickman and Estrella Torres 6-3, 6-3.
“The goal that I set for the team today was to improve our mental performance as a team, and we certainly accomplished that,” Stange said. “We have been performing better each match and I expect to continue on that path as we enter the middle of the season.”
Bret Harte (0-3-1 Mother Lode League) will return to the courts on April 6 to take on Calaveras. That match will begin at 3:30 pm in Angels Camp.
“Calaveras has a full roster, so we will be defaulting some matches at the outset, but I am encouraged by the chemistry we have as a team,” Stange said. “Calaveras is a perennial rival, so I am hoping that inspires us to focus extra hard to have our best match of the year. The best part of coaching this year’s team is that win or lose, we have a great group of tennis players who have fun together in practice and support each other during matches. There is always room for improvement, and I intend to lead us in that direction. “