By Ray Conner
There is nothing wrong with sharing. Especially when it comes to High Desert League titles.
The Lady Broncs went into the match with rival Bishop on Oct. 10 knowing they had a piece of the championship pie. They were looking to not have to slice it up, but keep it all to themselves.
In a see-saw battle Kern Valley would come up short and have to settle for co-champions of the HDL. It was their fifth league title since 2001.
Making the long trip to Bishop, the Lady Broncs knew they would be in for a tough match. The first time around the HDL, the Lady Broncos were missing a few players. Kern Valley took that match but knew this day could turn out a lot tougher.
The format for the match consisted of best two-of-three sets. The first to seven, winning by two earned a team point.
If the third set were necessary it would be the tiebreaker.
When the match started it was 75 degrees with an afternoon breeze. Bishop has four courts and the two teams battled it out for three and a half hours.
Singles play started the match as the top four players from each team squared off against each other.
Bishop secured the top two singles sets and Kern Valley won the next two. The score was even at 2-2, with five to play.
When singles play was concluded the Lady Broncos had the advantage in the match 2-4.
The Lady Broncs won two doubles matches to once again leave the match all squared at 4-4 with one battle yet to play out.
The Lady Broncs sent out their No.1 doubles team to face off with Bishop’s No. 1 team. An epic battle ensued, but Bishop would come out on top and earn their share of the league title.
Another indication in how close this match actually was came from the total games played in the match. Of the 202 games played in the match, Bishop held a slight edge at 103-99.
Team score: Bishop 5 – Kern Valley 4
No. 1 Hannah Hurley 3-6, 3-6
No. 2 Tesse Monahan 3-6, 4-6
No. 3 Shelby Williams 6-4, 7-5
No. 4 Burgette Sartor 6-2, 7-5
No. 5 Maddy Hurley 3-6, 4-6
No. 6 Skylar Newton 7-5, 2-6, (6-8 tiebreaker)
No. 1 Williams/H. Hurley 5-7, 5-7
No. 2 Monahan/Sartor 3-6, 6-2, (7-5 tiebreaker)
No. 3 Lexie Yearwood/Julia Amstutz 6-4, 6-1
The Lady Broncs head coach Brian Christianson said, “I am really proud of the way we battled the entire match. The team really rose to the challenge of playing in Bishop and competed well.”
Two days later, Kern Valley made a return trip tp Bishop to compete in the HDL Finals.
The Lady Broncs would claim one league title.
In the HDL Finals the format was best two of three sets with the third being the tiebreaker if necessary. Each team would send their top two singles players and their top two doubles teams so the finals started with quarterfinal action.
For the Lady Broncs in singles it was Yearwood and M. Hurley. The doubles players were the teams of H. Hurley/Williams and Sartor/Monahan.
H. Hurley was looking to win her second straight HDL doubles title after winning it last season partnered up with Taylor Tito.
The team of H. Hurley/ Williams as the No. 1 seed got off to a great start as they won their quarterfinal match 6-1, 6-0 to advance to the semifinals. The other Lady Broncs team of Sartor/Monahan was the No. 2 seed also took care of business in their match as they won 6-4, 6-1. The teams had to wait an hour and a half before resuming play.
In semifinal action, H.Hurley/Williams won their match 6-2, 6-3 to give themselves a shot at the league title. Not to be out done Sartor/Monahan battled to advance to the finals winning 7-5, 6-4 to set up an all Kern Valley final in doubles. This would be the featured match playing on rival Bishop’s courts and it would be the last match of the day.
Teammates and competitors battled, but it would be the team of Sartor/Monahan collecting the league title winning the match 6-2, 6-4. The names might be different, but the fact remains that this is the second straight year that a team from Kern Valley would claim a doubles league title.
In singles, M. Hurley, as the No. 4 seed, won her match 6-4, 6-4 to square off with the No. 1 seed and eventual champion. She lost 6-3, 6-4, but gained valuable experience as a sophomore on the Lady Broncs tennis team. Yearwood, as the No. 7 seed, faced off with the No. 2 seed and dropped her match 6-0, 6-1.
This year the Kern Valley squad as the No. 3 seed in CIF D5 playoffs earned a bye and will have to wait a week before competing. They will face the winner of the Fresno Christian/Mira Monte match.