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Tennis wins 3rd straight Division 5 Valley Championship

For the third consecutive year, the girls’ tennis team won the CIF Central Section Division 5 Valley Championship when they defeated Bakersfield Christian, 8-1, in the finals at California State Bakersfield campus on Nov. 3.

TENNIS SPORTS SHORTS–
Fall semester 2005
Girls’ tennis plays in the West Sierra League [19-0 overall and 14-0 in the W.S.L. as of Nov. 3. When tournaments are taken into consideration, the team went 21-4 overall thus far.]

FC 8, BAKERSFIELD CHRISTIAN 1, IN CIF DIVISION 5 TEAM FINALS on Nov. 3–

In a much anticipated match-up of the top two seeds, the Eagles traveled to Bakersfield to play the top-ranked girl and team in Division 5 and defeated them in convincing fashion. While top 25 nationally ranked Hilliary Schroeder beat Ashley Sherr in the opening singles match, 6-3, 6-1, that was as close as Bakersfield Christian would get to the title. The rest of the Eagles ladder won many hotly contested games. In an interesting side note though, Sherr was the first player all year to lead Schroeder in a game as she led, 2-1, in the second set.

However, FC was not intimidated by Schroeder’s win. Many expected it as she is ranked No. 1 in Division 5 while Sherr took a No. 6 ranking into the match. The visiting Eagles tightened their game and promptly won the title via the singles matches, not needing doubles later in the evening.

“It came down to singles and the girls refused to bend after Ashley’s (Sherr) defeat,” coach George Freeman said. The matches with Erin (Elmore) and Jenny (Beckman) were some of the best tennis I have watch all year.”

Jennifer Beckman, 6-7 (5-7), 6-4 (10-7), and Erin Elmore, 5-7, 7-6 (7-1) (10-7) went to third set super tie-breakers (first to 10 and win by two) and both did not fold under pressure.

FC’s fourth point was delivered by Elmore even after she lost the first game, 5-7. Elmore had taken an early lead in the first set but fell behind late and did not recover in game one.

“”Erin did not fold despite the opposing fans clapping when she hit the ball long or into the net,” coach Freeman said. “However, she did not let Angela (Littlefield of Bakersfield) win game two despite long rallies. Eric proved to be a little more determined and consistent today.”

Both Littlefield and Elmore seemed to be mirror images of each other as they both hit long, hard rallies and accurate in their placement. But in game two, Elmore took a lead and, despite a close match, won the tie-break to set up the super tie-break to decide the point.

“I knew if I lost the first tie-break, I would cry,” Elmore said, “and I don’t like to cry.” Elmore promptly sent out to win game two’s tie-break, 7-1, and and then seemed to have momentum for the super tie-break, 10-7.

“Erin rode the wave,” coach Freeman said. “She willed her way to win a tense match. This was a moment what coaches love to be in and I was privileged to be this team’s coach.” Elmore’s match lasted two and a half hours but only helped set up the drama for point number five.

Beckman was playing Bakersfield’s No. 2 player, Sara Whaley, who won game one, 7-6 after a 7-5 tie-break. The two players battled long, precise rallies and seemed to be each other’s double. Their match lasted from 3:15-6 P.M.

“Sara is one of the strongest No. 2 team players I have ever seen in high school,” coach Freeman said. “She plays a similar style to Jenny. They use long rallies, good placement and excellent strokes in an attempt to wear down their opponents. Sara is very vocal as she hits but Jen was not intimidated. I am emotionally spent after watching this match.”

Beckman came back and won 6-4 in a spirited game two. Whaley was determined to pull her team back to give their doubles teams a chance to win it. However, Beckman was undaunted.

“Jenny’s patience and point-by-point strategy kept her focused on winning the second set,” Jaclyn Blackwell said. “After my match I watched her amazing comeback from losing the first set and dominate the later part of the second and took the momentum in to the super tie-break.”

Freeman agreed with his No. 3 seed and said the final was just what he hoped it would be.

“I told Jen after she won game two that I was proud to to have her play for the Valley Championship,” coach Freeman said. “She exemplifies a no-quit, determined attitude and I wanted no one else to represent our school.”

Then coach and player took five minutes to talk and prepare for the tie-break to decide a championship.

“But what does a coach say to a player at that point,” coach Freeman said. “All we did was pray together and Jenny did the rest.”

While the super-tie break ended, 10-7, in Beckman’s favor, Beckman led throughout. After winning the nineth point, Freeman and his team stood on the side and watched as she won FC’s third consecutive Valley Championship and sixth in the last nine years. They stood and held hands just like the 1999 team did when seniors Angela Rice and Annie Moore beat Templeton.

“This was a moment where coaches love to be,” coach Freeman said. “With pressure all around, a Valley Championship at hand on the opposing team’s court…. “I felt privileged to be Jenny’s coach.”

In the other singles matches, Jaclyn Blackwell, 7-5, 6-1, Mary Kneefel, 6-3, 6-1, Kara Linkowski, 6-0, 6-3, defeated their opponents in spirited but straight sets.

After the 10th point the girls huddled at center court and while Freeman reminded them to savor the moment, the girls still had doubles to play.

While already having won the Valley Championship, Sherr had something yet to prove and teamed up with Beckman to win her doubles match, 6-1, 6-1, Blackwell/Kneefel also won, 6-0, 6-2, and Amanda Sherr and Brittney Shaffer, rebounded from a lackluster performance against Mission Prep to win, 7-6 (7-5) and were tied 1-1 in the second set when the lights on the court went out and the match was called.

Bakersfield finished the season 23-7 overall and 13-1 in the East Sierra League.

SHERR LOSES IN SWEET 16 ROUND–
Ashley Sherr played Immanuel’s No. 1 seed, Alex Siemens, and lost, 3-6,
6-7 (7-9) to bow out of the California Interscholastic Federation W.S.L. Individual Tournament at Buchanan on Nov. 4. This is only the second time an FC player has made it that far; the other time was when Whitney Wells was ranked No. 1 and finished second in 1997.

FC 7, MISSION PREP 2 IN CIF DIVISION 5 TEAM SEMI-FINALS on Nov. 1–

The last time these two teams met on Oct. 1 in San Luis Obispo, the teams played even tennis and FC came out on top, 5-4. However, the match was not as close in the semi-finals of the CIF Division 5 playoffs as the Lady Eagles dominated singles play, 6-0, and went on to defeat Mission Prep, 7-2, on Nov. 1 at Copper River County Club.

“Mission Prep is a well-coached, young team and their coach John Ronca will have one of the top seeds in the Valley next year,” FC coach George Freeman said. “We played them in the beginning of October and beat them in a close match but they did not have their No. 4 player, Emily Palmer.”

The Royals however played the semi-final match without their No. 3 seeded player. Megan Moynihan was out with a dislocated shoulder.

“While it was unfortunate Mission Prep’s third best player was not able to play, it didn’t change our game plan,” Freeman said. “Our goal was to start strong and win the first game of each match. We could not afford to get behind early.”

The Eagles did start strong and won all first games in the singles matches and ultimately went 6-0 in singles.

In singles, Ashley Sherr, 6-2, 6-1, Jennifer Beckman, 6-3, 7-5, Jaclyn Blackwell, 6-2, 6-2; Mary Kneefel, 6-0, 6-0, Kara Linkowski, 6-1, 6-1, and Erin Elmore, 6-0, 6-1, were all winners.

“Jennifer Beckman (No. 3) played against a mirror copy of herself in Julie Rutiz who is also seeded No. 3,” Freeman said smiling. “It was argueably the most exciting match. They played very long precise rallies. Both are hard strategic hitters.”

The Beckman/Rutiz match lasted two hours and kept the attention of many still left after FC had officially won the match with five straight singles wins.

“Jenny improved so much over the summer,” Freeman added. She took lessons and played with the Clovis USTA team and is one of the most improved player I have seen. She never gives up in any match. Jenny had to adjust in the second game as Julie began to return more shots strategically. It was fun to watch.”

The doubles matches were much closer except for Ashley Sherr/Beckman who were 6-2, 6-2, winners. To give Mission Prep credit, the match had already been decided before the doubles matches. They would not give up and Blackwell/Kneefel, lost, 4-6, 1-6 while Amanda Sherr/Brittney Shaffer, 7-6 (7-1) 2-6, played to a third set super tie-breaker and lost, 6-10.

“The Amanda Sherr/Shaffer match was tough,” Freeman said. “The girls have been working on becoming more accurate and precise in their delivery in their volley placements and had trouble matching Mission Prep.”

The No. 2 seeded FC girls next travel to No. 1 seeded Bakersfield to play the finals against No. 1 ranked Bakersfield Christian.

“Bakersfield is an excellent team but I believe we can beat them even though we are seeded No. 2,” Freeman said. “My girls have the maturity, playoff experience and heart-level determination to win the Valley Championship.”

Bakersfield Christian will play with top 25 nationally ranked Hilliary Schroeder as their No. 1 player. Schroeder, a sophomore, played only three matches with Bakersfield all season due to her hectic national tournament schedule. She is also ranked No. 1 in Division 5. The Bakersfield team is made up of only freshman and sophomores.

The CIF Central Section Division 5 finals match will be held at California State Bakersfield campus at 3:15 P.M. on Nov. 3. The girls will leave campus by 10 A.M.

DIRECTIONS TO CAL-STATE BAKERSFIELD CAMPUS FROM FRESNO:
Drive South on Highway 99 to Stockdale Hwy
Go 4 to 5 miles, Cal State University of Bakersfield will be on the left
Go past the first stop sign and drive through the second entrance
Follow the road to the center of the campus
Park near the module classrooms

FC 9, FOWLER 0 IN CIF DIVISION 5 TEAM QUARTER-FINALS on OCT. 26–

In a match reminiscent of an earlier victory, FC continued their dominance of Fowler and defeated the Redcats in a quarter-final match to open the CIF Division 5 playoffs on Oct. 26. The Eagles won a total of 108 games while only dropping 9 during the match.

In singles play, Ashley Sherr, 6-1, 6-0, Jennifer Beckman, 6-1, 6-0, Jaclyn Blackwell, 6-0, 6-0, Mary Kneefel, 6-1, 6-0, Kara Linkowski, 6-0, 6-1, Erin Elmore, 6-0, 6-0, all won in straight sets.

Before the Fowler match, the girls’ tennis team continued in their yearly tradition of eating lunch at Di Cicco’s on the corner of Nees and Cedar. The pregame meals have been an integral part of the girls’ tennis team for 20 years. During lunch, coach George Freeman reminded them that it was very important to develop good friendships on the team.

In order to get to know each other better, the team played 20 questions. One person, starting with the seniors, was asked one question by each team member and then more questions are asked until 10 or minutes expired.

“This is what makes FC girls’ tennis special,” Freeman said. “Nothing replaces spending time in building team chemistry than sitting down for a meal and talking with one another. Anyone can hit a ball but this team cares for and appreciates each other.”

The person did not have to answer any questions but they complied. Questions ranged from, “what is your favorite color,” to “what is your greatest fear?” After the meal and question time, the girls promptly went to Fowler and defeated the Redcats to move on to the CIF Division 5 tennis team semi-finals.

The doubles teams also did not lose a match as Sherr/Beckman 6-2, 6-0, Blackwell/Mary Kneefel, 6-0, 6-0, and Amanda Sherr/Brittney Shaffer, 6-3, 6-0 beat their opponents.

TENNIS WINS WSL TITLE FOR 9TH CONSECUTIVE YEAR! FREEMAN NAMED CO-COACH OF THE YEAR The girls’ tennis team is the WSL champion for the 9th consecutive year and 8th undefeated. Coach George Freeman was also named as the co-coach of the year along side Mike Etchegoinberry of Firebaugh and Greg Ruland of Liberty-Madera Ranchos. Both coaches led their teams to 11-3 records. Freeman was also named co-coach of the year in 2004 and was awarded the first annual coach of the year trophy in 2003.

TWO SINGLES, ONE DOUBLES TEAM ADVANCE IN CIF INDIVIDUAL QUALIFIER–

In the California Interscholastic Federation W.S.L. Individual qualifying tournament at Clovis West on Oct. 22, the top four singles and doubles teams from every Central California league (from Divisions 1-5) played to qualify for the CIF Individual Tournament on Oct. 29.

Senior Ashley Sherr is seeded No. 6 in the Valley as the individual tournament continues and is the highest ranked player since Whitney Wells was seeded No. 1 in 1997. Earlier in the year, Sherr defeated the No. 1 seed, Heidi Chou of Madera High in a scrimmage (8-6). Chou however recovered and finished the season undefeated, 25-0. Michelle Craig, who Sherr lost to in the Wawona Peachtree Tournament, 3-6, 1-6, is ranked No. 5.

Sherr and junior Jennifer Beckman both advanced in the singles tournament and finished No. 1 and No. 2 as Sherr defeated Beckman in a best of three final, 6-0, 7-5. Judith Martinez of Firebaugh placed third and Anne Soghomonian of Liberty-Madera Ranchos qualifyed as the No. 4 seed from the WSL. All four girls advance to the Oct. 29 round.

Earlier, Sherr defeated Addie Mendoza of Tranquillity, 8-0, after getting a first round bye. She then defeated Soghomonian, 6-4, 6-1, to face Beckman in the finals. The Mendoza match was an eight-game pro-set without add. The Soghomonian match was the best two out of three.

Beckman advanced to the final round by defeating Maria Mendez of Tranquillity, 8-2, and beat Alex Gorman of Liberty, 8-3. Beckman won the right to play Sherr when she defeated Martinez in the closest match of the day, 7-6 (11-9), 7-5.

In doubles, Lauren Wallis and Angie Hernendez of Liberty, Madera Ranchos finished as the No. 1 seed as they defeated Jaclyn Blackwell/Mary Kneefel, 7-6 (7-4) and 6-1. Blackwell/Kneefel however qualified for the Oct. 29 tournament by placing No. 2. The team of Noemi Barrera/Jessica Martinez of Firebaugh placed third while Alana Gonzales/Christina Pena of Caruthers finished as the No. 4 seed.

FC 9, RIVERDALE 0 on OCT. 20–
While they had already won the WSL outright, the girls traveled to Riverdale to try and finish as the undefeated champions on Oct. 20. And while they had defeated Riverdale earlier in the year, the team was focused and defeated the Cowgirls, 9-0, to complete their 8th straight undefeated title and 9th straight overall.

In singles, Ashley Sherr, 8-2, Jennifer Beckman, 8-3, Jaclyn Blackwell, 8-3, Mary Kneefel, 8-0, Kara Linkowski, 8-1, and Erin Elmore, 8-0, all complete their seasons on a high note with straight-set wins.

Doubles teams of Sherr/Beckman, 8-3, Blackwell/Kneefel, 8-2, Amanda Sherr/Brittney Shaffer, 8-5, then completed the sweep. After securing their undefeated season, coach Freeman traditionally takes the team out for dinner and Wendys at Jensen and Highway 99 has been the diner of choice for 20 years.

“I pick Wendys because we can move the tables around and eat together as a team,” Freeman said. “In other establishments we have to break up and eat in fours.” However, this year tradition was broken.

“I gave my two seniors the option to break tradition and Ashley and Erin chose In-N-Out,” Freeman said. “Maybe its time to create something new for the next 20 years.”

FC 8, FIREBAUGH 1 on OCT. 18–
The girls assured themselves a 9th straight WSL championship with an 8-1 win over Firebaugh on Oct. 18.

The girls’ tennis team has been the WSL champions since 1997 and undefeated champions since 1998. The Riverdale match on Oct. 20 is the only one left to stand in the way of this year’s perfecet season. FC beat them, 9-0, Sept. 27.

In singles play against Firebaugh, Ashley Sherr, 8-2, Jennifer Beckman, 8-2, Mary Kneefel, 8-2, Kara Linkowski, 8-0, Erin Elmore, 8-2, all won their matches without much of a challenge while Jaclyn Blackwell, 7-8 (5-7) lost her match in a close tie-break.

Sherr and Beckman have been hitting and practicing with fellow seniors Corey Maxey and Derek George in order to improve their serve return and hitting skills. According to coach George Freeman, the Division 5 playoffs will require a higher level of hard-hitting consistent tennis. The girls are returning shots and serves they will most likely see in the upcoming playoffs.

“We are also preparing for the playoffs by working on a 12 tie-break system,” Freeman said. “In the regular season, we do not play with add (when players get to duece, the next point wins) and now the girls will have to win by two points. The matches potentially will be longer and more intense.”

The doubles’ teams of Sherr/Beckman, 8-5, and Amanda Sherr/Brittney Shaffer, 8-1, defeated their Firebaugh opponents as well and Blackwell enacted a measure of revenge as she won a tie-break with Kneefel, 8-7 (7-4), to get a win as well.

FC 9, CARUTHERS 0 on OCT. 13–
After a gruling match against Liberty, the girls traveled to Caruthers and soundly defeated the Cowgirls, 9-0, on Oct. 13. Jaclyn Blackwell was the only singles player to be challenged but won, 8-5.

In an attempt to remind the girls of who has played before them, and to keep remind them of the history and tradition of excellent tennis that they maintain, coach George Freeman took them to court No. 3 at Caruthers High.

“It happened in 1998,” Freeman said. “The girls at that time played two singles and three doubles. Up to that match we had defeated every team in the WSL by a perfect score of 5-0. All other matches had won that day except for first doubles team of Mary Wiens, ’00, and Amy Shaffer, ’00, which had just split sets and now entered into the third and final set.”

No team before the 1998 team had ever played a perfect season. This was also the first group of girls playing for Freeman that had also played in the newly started campus junior high program.

“The Fresno Christian doubles team however fell behind 1-5 in the final set of the season,” Freeman continued, “and it was getting late. Both teams had gathered around the courts to watch the final match, including parents, students and coaches. Then one game after another, the FC girls defeated the Caruthers doubles team by a score of 7-5, completing a perfect season. They won six games in a row despite the team already having won the match.”

Immediately afterward the team moved to the grass area outside the court and joined in prayer to thank Jesus for a remarkable season. Freeman retells this and other stories each year to remind the girls of the others who have come before them, creating a legacy of campus tennis. This is Freeman’s 20th year as head coach.

In other singles play at Caruthers, Ashley Sherr, 8-2, Jennifer Beckman, 8-2, Mary Kneefel, 8-0, Kara Linkowski, 8-0, Erin Elmore, 8-0, all won their matches without much opposition.

Even though the match was already won, the doubles teams also shut out Caruthers as Sherr/Beckman, 8-0, Blackwell/Kneefel, 8-3, Amanda Sherr/Brittany Shaffer, 8-0, stayed focused in their games.

FC 8, LIBERTY-MADERA RANCHOS 1 on OCT. 11–
A much improved Liberty team took the court against FC without any seniors on their ladder but could not overcome two tie-break losses and the Eagles defeated the Hawks, 8-1, on Oct. 11.

In singles, Ashley Sherr, 8-6, Jennifer Beckman, 8-7 (7-3), Mary Kneefel, 8-0, Kara, Linkowski, 8-0, and Erin Elmore, 8-2, all won. Jaclyn Blackwell, 6-8, lost in a close match.

“The score didn’t indicate how hard our girls had to work,” coach George Freeman said. “Next year this Liberty team will definitely be a contender for the WSL championship. They are well coached plus have girls who are committed to playing year-round.”

While Ashely Sherr was sick during her match and may have contributed to the close score, Beckman was down 2-5 in her match before she came back to tie at 7 and won the tie-break. Blackwell, who earlier defeated her opponent, 8-0, lost her match. Liberty also is the only other team to defeat Firebaugh this year other than the Eagles.

“This was the hardest competition for me in league,” Blackwell said. “I was surprised by Angie’s improvement and consistency. Maybe I didn’t take her seriously and I know I will prepare better for her next time we meet.”

In doubles play, Sherr/Beckman, 8-7 (7-5), won the closest match while Blackwell/Kneefel 8-3, and Amanda Sherr/Brittney Shaffer, 8-3, won convincingly. Sherr and Beckman had all kinds of trouble with their match. They were down 3-5 before amping up their game to tie at 7 and then won the spirited tie-break.

FC 9, FOWLER 0 on OCT. 4–
With the Sherr sisters back in the line-up after illness, FC had little trouble dispatching Fowler, 9-0, on Oct. 4. In singles play, No. 1 Ashley Sherr, 8-3, was challenged but Jennifer Beckman, 8-1, Jaclyn Blackwell, 8-0, Mary Kneefel 8-1, Kara Linkowski, 8-1, and Erin Elmore, 8-2, faced little resistence.

In the first doubles match, the No. 1 team of Sherr/Beckman, 8-0, and No. 2 Blackwell/Kneefel, 8-2, overwhelmed their opponents while Amanda Sherr/Brittney Schaffer, 8-5, played a lively, exciting third doubles game.

The Eagles are now 12-0 and travel to Madera-Ranchos to take on Liberty High on Oct. 11.

FC 9, STRATHMORE 0 on OCT. 3–
Despite missing two key players from the line-up, the girls’ tennis team defeated Strathmore, 9-0, on Oct. 3. Two freshman playing in their first matches of their high school career helped win points for the Eagles who have won 9 matches in a row.

Kristina Palmer, a freshman, played her first ever varsity match at third doubles and Brittany Shaffer, also a freshman, played her first varsity match as a single’s player. The doubles matches were won by Jenny Beckman/Jacyln Blackwell, 8-2, Mary Kneefel/Kara Linkowski, 8-0, and Palmer/Elizabeth Mendrin, 8-0.

In singles play, Beckman, 8-0, Blackwell, 8-0, Kneefel, 8-0, Linkowski, 8-1, and Erin Elmore, 8-0, all joined Shaffer, 8-1, in quick set match wins. The Sherr sisters, Ashley and Amanda, were down with illnesses and rested for the team’s next home match against Fowler on Oct. 4.

FC 5, MISSION PREP 4 on OCT. 1–
In their closest match this season, Mission Prep took FC to the limit but fell one match short, 5-4, to the Eagles on Oct. 1. The doubles matches were the closest and FC lost two match-determining tie-breakers in second and third doubles. The teams played 8 game pro-sets without add.

In singles play, Ashley Sherr, 8-6, was down 1-3 to Mission’s No. 1 player but changed her strategy and began to hit with greater accuracy and consistency and won the match. Jennifer Beckman, 4-8, played a U.S.T.A. ranked opponent but couldn’t overcome an early deficit. Jaclyn Blackwell, 5-8, lost but Mary Kneefel, 8-2, Kara Linkowski, 8-1, Erin Elmore, 8-2, all won their matches.

As the teams began doubles play, FC only needed one match win to beat a Mission Prep team they met in last year’s Valley Championship. The first doubles team of Ashley Sherr/Beckman, 6-2, 7-5, won the match on their 2-set win in one of the most exciting matches since last year’s championship.

“The Mission Prep team is well-coached and the their girls played their hearts out,” coach George Freeman said. “They have a great team now and, by the number of younger players, they will continue to be competitive in the future.”

In the final doubles matches, Blackwell/Kneefel played Mission Prep even at 4-6, 6-3, but lost , 4-7, in the tie-breaker. Amanda Sherr and Brittney Shaffer also played Mission Prep even at 7-5, 6-7, but lost 3-7 in the tie-breaker).

FC 7, COAST UNION 2 on SEPT. 30–
Girls’ tennis traveled to the central coast to take on the Broncos in a non-conference match on Sept. 30. In arguably their toughest matches since the Wawona Tournaments, the girls were pressed throughout. In singles play, Ashley Sherr, 8-4, Jaclyn Blackwell, 8-2, Mary Kneefel, 8-2, Kara Linkowski, 8-2, and Erin Elmore, 8-6, all won. Jennifer Beckman, 6-8, took the loss. The teams played 8 game pro-sets without add.

In doubles, Ashley Sherr and Beckman were down, 1-6, in their doubles match in the highlight game. Despite the early deficit, they came from behind to tie the set at 7-7 after winning the next 6 games consecutively and entered into a tie-breaker (first team to 7 points and win by two). The girls won the tie-breaker by a score of 7-3!

“I have rarely seen a comeback of that magnitude,” coach George Freeman said.

After winning so many games in a row leading up to the tie-breaker, the doubles teammates rode the momentum to take the match. Blackwell/Kneefel, 8-3, won the other doubles match while Amanda Sherr and Brittney Shaffer lost, 7-8 (5-7 in the tie-breaker).

FC 9, TRANQUILLITY 0 on SEPT. 29–
While their upcoming trip to Cambria and Coast Union was on the minds of the tennis girls, they had little trouble shutting out Tranquility on Sept. 29.

In singles, Ashley Sherr, 8-2, Jennifer Beckman, 8-0, Jaclyn Blackwell, 8-0, Mary Kneefel, 8-1, Kara Linkowski, 8-0, and Erin Elmore, 8-0 all won in convincing fashion. Sophomore Linkowski continues to defeat her opponents and demonstrates why coach George Freeman starts her on varsity.

In doubles: Sherr/Beckman, 8-1, Blackwell/Kneefel, 8-1, all were expected to win. However, coach Freeman surprised some when he teamed freshman Brittany Schaffer with Amanda Sherr and the new doubles partners won, 8-2.

“The girls continue to dominate their opponents with good hard hitting
tennis,” Freeman said after the Tranquility match.

FC 9, RIVERDALE 0 on SEPT. 27–
In singles play, Ashley Sherr, 8-2, Jennifer Beckman, 8-4, Jaclyn Blackwell, 8-2, Mary Kneefel, 8-0, Erin Elmore, 8-0, Amanda Sherr, 8-1 all were convincing winners. In doubles, Sherr/Beckman, 8-2, Blackwell/Kneefel, 8-1, Kara Linkowski and Elizabeth Mendrin, 8-0 all were not challenged.

While the tennis team has two senior leaders (Elmore and Ashley Sherr), it is the play of the sophomores that has their coach excited.

“The strong play by our underclassman shows that Fresno Christian will have very competitive teams for several years to come,” coach George Freeman said after the match. The JV team of Kristina Palmer and Haley Volpa-Olsen, Tonia Keys-Bramlett and Megan Ortiz, Janae Keys-Bramlett and Jennifer Sherfield also have not lost a match this season.

FC 8, FIREBAUGH 1 on SEPT. 22–
The girls’ tennis team fought through three tie-breakers to defeat Firebaugh, 8-1, on Sept. 22. The smooth and steady play of the FCS girls and determined Firebaugh team made for a pressure-packed match. FC however, was not intimidated by a strong Firebaugh side and did not fold under pressure in the first West Sierra League match that was far closer than the score indicates.

In singles, Ashley Sherr, 8-1, quickly dispated her opponent. Jennifer Beckman, 8-5, Jaclyn Blackwell, 8-7(7-3), Mary Kneefel, 8-0, and Amanda Sherr, 8-7(7-5), all were challenged throughout their matches. Erin Elmore, 7-8(4-7), suffered the only loss in a tie-break.

In doubles: Sherr/Beckman, 8-4, Blackwell/Kneefel, 8-2, Kara Linkowski and Elizabeth Mendrin, 8-0 all completed the FC dominance but the match already had been decided in singles. The Eagles will host a rematch on Oct. 18 so fans may want to pencil in that date for some prime time WSL tennis.

FC 9, CARUTHERS 0 on SEPT. 20–

Despite not finishing in the finals round in the Wawona Peach Tree Tournament, it appears as though the campus tennis team picked up ways in which to improve their game. Visiting Caruthers found out this FC team is for real as the Eagles shut out Caruthers, 9-0, on Sept. 20.

In singles play, Ashley Sherr, 8-0, Jennifer Beckman, 8-0, Jaclyn Blackwell, 8-0, Mary Kneefel, 8-1, Erin Elmore, 8-0, Amanda Sherr, 8-1, all won in short order. The doubles matches also were over quickly as Sherr/Beckman, 8-1, Blackwell/Kneefel, 8-6, Kara Linkowski and Elizabeth Mendrin, 8-1 all won.

According to coach George Freeman, the girls played very smart tennis against the Blue Raiders. “Their precision accuracy and split second decision-making made for some great tennis today,” Freeman said.

FC 9, LIBERTY-MADERA RANCHOS 0 on SEPT. 15–

While the doubles games were all close, the girls’ tennis team still ran away with the match against Liberty-Madera Ranchos, 9-0, on Sept. 15. In singles play, Ashley Sherr, 8-2, Jennifer Beckman, 8-6, Jaclyn Blackwell, 8-0, Mary Kneefel, 8-1, Erin Elmore, 8-1, and Amanda Sherr, 8-0, all won. In doubles, Sherr/Beckman, 8-5, Blackwell/Kneefel, 8-5, Kara Linkowski and Elizabeth Mendrin, 8-5 all were pressed with long matches.

FC 9, STRATHMORE 0 on SEPT. 13–

After Strathmore was held up on Highway 99 due to an accident., the Sept. 13 match was not started until 4:30 P.M. As a result, the match was shortened to a 6 game pro set instead of an 8 game pro set. The shortened matches seemed to settle fine with the host Eagles as FC defeated Strathmore, 9-0.

In singles play, the winners were Ashley Sherr, 6-0, Jennifer Beckman, 6-0, Jaclyn Blackwell, 6-4, Mary Kneefel, 6-0, Erin Elmore, 6-3, and Amanda Sherr, 6-0. In doubles: Sherr/Beckman, 6-1, Blackwell/Kneefel 6-0, Kara Linkowski/Elizabeth Mendrin, 6-0.

WAWONA PEACH TREE CLASSIC TENNIS TOURNAMENT on Sept. 9-10–

Tennis went 2-4 in the 30th annual Wawona tournament and did not qualify for the finals round. The teams only played the best of 6 matches rather best of 9. FC was the smallest school in the tournament and many of the schools had up to 10 times the enrollment.

According to coach George Freeman, his girls played against the premiere tennis schools in the central Valley. “We never get a chance to play teams like Garces,” Freeman said. “Our girls gained experience that will make us a better team and individual tennis players.”

Freeman went on to say that his players volleyed with stiff competition which were hard-hitting, consistent and played precision tennis. Many of the other schools boasted individuals who are ranked in the top 10 of the Central Section of the California Interscholastic Federation.

FC went 0-3 on Sept. 10
FC 2, St. Mary’s (Modesto) 4
FC 2, Garces 4
FC 2, Sunnyside 4

FC went 2-1 on Sept. 9
FC 6, WOODCREEK HIGH (Roseville, CA) 0
FC 2, PITMAN (Modesto) 4
FC 6, Lodi 0

The girls were treated to a dinner catered by Luna’s Pizzeria in Clovis.

FC 9, FOWLER 0 on Sept. 8–

The girls’ tennis team defeated Fowler, 9-0, on Sept. 8. In singles: Ashley Sherr, 8-2, Jennifer Beckman, 8-1, Jaclyn Blackwell, 8-1, Mary Kneefel, 8-1, Erin Elmore, 8-3, Amanda Sherr, 8-3. In doubles: Sherr/Beckman, 8-2, Blackwell/Kneefel, 8-3, and Kara Linkowski/Elizabeth Mendrin, 8-1. Fowler had previous been unbeaten at 3-0.

FC 9, TRANQUILLITY 0 on Sept. 6–
The girls’ tennis team opened up West Sierra League play by defeating Tranquillity, 9-0, on Sept. 6. In singles play, Jennifer Beckman, 8-1, Jaclyn Blackwell 8-2, Mary Kneefel 8-0, Erin Elmore 8-1, Kara Linkowski 8-0 led the Eagles. In doubles play, Beckman/Blackwell, 8-2, Kneefel/Elmore, 8-0, and Haley Tamberi/Brittney Shaffer, 8-0, completed the sweep. In a JV match Janae Keys-Bramlet/Jennifer Sherfield won 8-0.

FC 6, MADERA 3 on Aug. 30–
The tennis girls won their first scrimmage, 6-3, against Madera High on Aug. 30. While the match was an unpublicized exhibition, Madera is a Division I school and traditionally strong in girls’ tennis; they finished No. 2 in their division in 2004. FC won all six singles matches in the eight-game pro sets but lost all three doubles matches in close games. Ashley Sherr, 8-6, Jennifer Beckman 8-5, Jaclyn Blackwell 8-5, Mary Kneefel, 8-3, Erin Elmore 8-2 and Amanda Sherr 8-4 all won for the Eagles in singles play.

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