On a sizzling 90-degree day, the Calistoga Wildcats fought hard but couldn’t overcome the loss of their number one player as the visiting Rincon Valley Christian Eagles (2-5) picked up the 3-2 win in the Wildcats last home match of the season last Thursday by collecting both points in the doubles portion of the match.
For Calistoga (1-10) Susana Tovar, pinch-hitting at the No. 1 singles spot, won her match 6-2, 6-4.
“Susana played well today,” said Calistoga coach Dennis Rossi after the match. “She’s been playing for me for three years which is the longest of any of my players.”
“The heat was really bad out there,” added Tovar, whose hard fought match was the last to finish. “I really didn’t want it to go three sets. This was a close match for me, most of my matches I have either won easily or lost by a lot.”
Tovar was also happy to not have played a boy today in the co-ed league.
“I’ve had to play a lot of guys and I’ve won two matches out of five,” she said. “It’s intimidating to play guys because most of them are a lot bigger than me, I’m only 5’2 so it’s like super scary and frustrating because you know you don’t have a chance but you also know you can’t give up.”
Kayleen Pauls, who stepped up to the No. 2 singles spot for the Wildcats, blitzed her opponent 6-1, 6-0 which was the kind of result she wanted on a hot day.
“This was one of my better matches,” Pauls said. “I missed the first half of the year because of a torn ACL last year, but I went 4-3 for the season.”
Pauls has been playing well the last couple of weeks as it’s taken a while for her to get her confidence back after her injury.
Calistoga had to forfeit the No. 3 singles match due to a lack of players.
Emma Antonelli, an exchange student from Italy, and America Montanez played in the No. 1 doubles spot but were defeated 6-1, 6-3.
“This is the first year I’ve played since elementary school,” Antonelli said. “I had a lot of fun playing again this year.”
She said she will return home after the season to complete high school, which runs for an extra year in Italy.
Reflecting on the Wildcats’ season, Rossi mentioned that his team was all seniors but only two had played competitively before.
He added that the constant rain that fell for week between March and April also complicated their season.
“The weather meant a lot of rescheduling and missed practices, so we are just now coming along,” he said.
Rossi noted this was the third match in three days his team had played this week.
“Tuesday we played Tomales, they’re the best team in our league and we lost 5-0,” Rossi said. “Wednesday we played Technology from Rohnert Park and lost 3-2. Two of the matches we lost against Tech were really close and could have gone wither way. But amazingly we got all the matches in that were scheduled this year.”
Another unusual aspect of the Calistoga season was that every player on the Wildcats is a senior. So what does Rossi due for the 2020 season?
“I don’t know what I’m going to do for players next year, it will be interesting to see what happens,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll get a new group of players.”
The Wildcats has concluded the dual match portion of their season, but still have tennis to play.
“We have the Coastal Mountain Conference tournament next week at Mendocino College, Friday and Saturday, so we’ll see how we do,” Rossi said.
Calistoga 3, Rincon Valley Christian 2
No. 1 Susana Power (C) def. Sadie Wade (RVC) 6-2, 6-4.
No. 2 Kayleen Pauls (C) def. Kelsey Anderson (RVC) 6-1, 6-0.
No. 3 RVC def. Calistoga by forfeit.
No. 1 Emma Antonelli/America Montanez (C) def. by Isiah Cunningham/Kyle Benestad (RVC) 1-6, 3-6.
No. 2 Lexi Quiroz/Gio Avina (C) def. by Toby Cunningham/Kelsey Thomas (RVC) 2-6, 4-6.