Coming off its first Channel League title in recent memory, the Santa Barbara High girls tennis team hosted Simi Valley in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 3 playoff bracket.
The Dons came out strong with five wins in the opening six games to help propel them to a 12-6 victory over Pioneers. With the win, Santa Barbara will advance to the second round where they will be on the road to face Long Beach Poly at 2 p.m. on Friday.
“These girls are really willing to put themselves on the line. We are playing at a high level and we are stronger than we were at the beginning of the season and it shows,” Santa Barbara coach Danny Echt said.
Junior Sophia Ostovany was the standout for Santa Barbara in singles, sweeping her three opponents with ease, playing in front most of the day.
“She (Ostovany) played some of her best tennis today. She moved her opponents well, was solid with her forehand and she closed out all three sets with some force,” Echt said.
In doubles, the Dons No. 1 pairing of Hannah Mendez and Natalie Brewer also swept to help give their team the win.
After being up 5-1, Simi Valley put a little bit of a comeback on winning three of the next six-game set to stay alive in the match.
Santa Barbara put the finishing touches on its win with four victories in the final round to make up the score.
Usual standout Heidi Hatton went 1-1 in singles today. Coach Echt said that Hatton was not feeling too well which is why she did not play in the third game.
Even though Santa Barbara is set to go on the road in its next match, Coach Echt says he is confident in his teams’ ability to stay alive in the playoffs.
“We are the fifth seed and we went undefeated in league so I think that is pretty notable. We won six games in singles today and six in doubles and I am hoping that depth continues shining through to keep our balance even,” Echt said.
“This season has been a real pleasure, seeing the girls get really close and they have just shown tremendous improvement throughout the season. I am really fortunate to coach these groups of kids.”