Two rebuilding girls tennis teams opened Vine Valley Athletic League play Tuesday, with American Canyon winning 5-2 over host Napa High.
American Canyon finished third in the new league behind champion Justin-Siena and second-place Casa Grande last year, while Vintage was fourth and Napa finished fifth.
Wolves head coach Annie Monteleone thought the new American Canyon and Napa teams looked very evenly matched Tuesday.
“We just had a little better luck today,” she said. “We lost a lot of our seniors from last year, so we’re going to have to work on our singles play this year.”
Lila Hawes picked up a solid win for the Wolves in the No. 2 singles match by defeating Sophia Kroll, 6-2, 6-1.
“The match was really hard,” said Hawes. “Sophia is really, really good, but I just kept hearing my coach’s voice telling me to push forward and I’m really proud I was able to win. The win was very confidence-boosting for me. I’m glad our team ended up winning. It was a good outcome for us.”
Grizzlies head coach Tracy Bunker was philosophical after the loss.
“This was our first league match of the year and I’m OK with the outcome,” she said, “because I have only three returning girls on my ladder and two of those won today.”
Napa’s Sophia Mostow won at No. 1 singles, 6-3, 6-2 over the Wolves’ Lylah Awad.
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“It was a good win,” said Mostow. “I was feeling some nerves because it was the first match of the year but I just shook it off and played my game. Lylah had me running a lot, but I’m pretty quick and was able to lob her at the net or hit it short if she was playing back.”
Mostow said she was looking forward to some tough challenges the rest of the VVAL schedule.
“I know the girls from Vintage and Justin are amazing, but I plan on being competitive no matter who I play,” she said.
The other singles matches saw Napa’s Cameron Wickersham defeat Berke Nauright 6-1, 6-2 at No. 3s, and American Canyon’s Nyla Maharaj top Julie Solomon 6-1, 7-5.
After splitting the singles matches, the deciding factor was American Canyon was able to sweep the three doubles matches against the Grizzlies.
At No. 1, Genesis Billingsley and Mia Ang defeated Natalie Maass and Elisa Cassiani, 6-2, 6-2. At No. 2, it was Katie Ayers and Ariel Legler over Ava Moreci and Kalayla Jones, 6-1, 6-0. At No. 3, Kianti De Leon and Arriella Guidubaldi downed Alana Valentine and Halle Huckfeldt, 6-3, 7-6.
The Napa squad visited Petaluma on Thursday, while the Wolves hosted Sonoma Valley.
“I think we came in fifth last year, and my hopes for the girls are that they increase their tennis skills and that they enjoy themselves,” Bunker said. “If they can do that, then we have had a successful season.”