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Tennis loses to Bakersfield in finals


(Overall record, 13-3, and 12-1, in the WSL as of May 16) Tournament games are not counted in the overall record.


The boys’ tennis team was beaten, 8-1, by Bakersfield Christian in the CIF Central Section Division V finals on May 16. Doubles partners Eric Beneke and Shane Darakjian won the only winning point. The boys finished second in the division.

In singles, FC’s No. 1 player, Justin Bridges, was defeated by Cooke, 6-2, 6-1. With Chad Wathen down with illness, the new FC No. 1 doubles team of Bridges and Corey Maxey were defeated by the Bakersfield duo of Miller/Nichols, 6-1, 6-0.

Despite singles players, Chad Wathen and Justin Bridges competing in their own terminator competition, the team focused enough to defeat Caruthers, 9-0, on April 6 under sunny skies.

In No. 1 singles action, Justin Bridges, defeated his opponent, 8-0, while No. 1 doubles partners Chad Wathen and Corey Maxey, won 8-2.

The terminator award is the unofficial designation when a singles player defeats his opponent first. As of April 6, both Wathen and Bridges are tied at four. However, both men have chosen not to count their doubles action in the equation.

“Bridges had some difficulties today but I’m not saying anything,” Wathen said. “But I do know Stobbe (Greg) heckled him some during the doubles match and Justin found it difficult to get the ball over the net for a time. I guess Justin was a little nervous.”

Stobbe said it was all in fun and Bridges was able to defeat his opponent after Stobbe left.

It sounds like a broken record but tennis dodged a torrental downpour during the day and after the match to shut out Riverdale, 9-0, on April 4.

Despite having No. 2 Chad Wathen absent due to illness, No. 1 singles player Justin Bridges, defeated Arturo Perez, 6-0. In doubles, Bridges teams up with Tyler Enns and defeated the duo of Perez/Craig Diener, 6-0.

With No. 1 player Justin Bridges not in the line-up, coach Ken LeRoy shuffled his ladder against Firebaugh but FC regrouped and defeated the visting Eagles, 9-0, on March 30. However, the match was not without drama.

After finding himself down two games, 3-5, No. 2 Corey Maxey battled back after less than a stellar performance and defeated his counterpart in a tie-break, 7-3, to take the set, 8-7.

“Some days I have a mentality that I can’t get the ball in and as a result don’t play my best tennis,” Maxey said. “But I found a way to win even when I wasn’t playing my best. I had to refocus and concentrate. I looked for the other guy’s weakness and tried to exploit it. It’s a confidence thing.”

No. 1 seeded Chad Wathen, Maxey’s doubles partner, cruised to an 8-1 win over Firebaugh’s No. 1 seed.

“We like to refer to ourselves as doubles specialists,” Wathen said. “Regardless of our play in singles, when we get to doubles I think we gel and play even better as a duo than alone.”

The Wathen/Maxey team has not lost a match all season and the Eagles are undefeated in WSL play.

Two undefeated West Sierra League teams met on campus and the Eagles defeated Fowler, 7-2, on March 29. No. 1 singles player Justin Bridges defeated his counterpart Frank Valencia, 8-1. Additionally, FC No. 1 doubles partners Chad Wathen/Cory Maxey won, 8-4, over the Redcats’ David Silveira/Colton Porter.

With the weather changing to spring-like conditions, the boys’ tennis team rolled to a 9-0 win over Tranquillity on March 23. While each player won their matches, the team’s ladder positions are up for grabs as the players will jostle for position in the next week.

For the time being, No. 1 seed Justin Bridges defeated his opponents both in singles and with doubles partner, Tyler Enns.

Despite a couple of their top ladder teammates absent from the match, the team cruised to an 8-1 win over Liberty-Madera Ranchos on March 21.

Despite not knowing the importance of their doubles match, seniors Chad Wathen and Corey Maxey stepped to center court and beat the No. 1 doubles’ team from Strathmore to create an FC win streak on March 16.

The duo easily won their match 8-1 and casually walked off the court to find they won the match.

“Chad and I didn’t realize until later that our doubles match sealed the win for us,” Maxey said. “We just came out and played our game and had fun. It’s the doubles matches which make this game fun.”

But both Wathen and Maxey won their singles matches as did sophomore Justin Bridges and Tyler Ens. Bridges and Ens also won their doubles match as all top four FC players won despite cloud cover and the threat of rain.

Despite looming clouds and a jet stream that was headed south, the boys’ tennis team pounded Riverdale, 9-0, and erased an embarrasing loss to Division III Memorial two days earlier.

“The boys totally dominated today,” coach Ken LeRoy said. “Most of the matches were over in 15 minutes. It was a combination of two things; the guys were motivated and it looked like Riverdale was not ready to play us.”

While FC was shut out, 9-0, in the match against Memorial on March 7, the Panthers are traditionally a tennis powerhouse in Division II tennis. Justin Bridges, FC’s No. 1 singles player, was beaten for the first time this year, 6-1, 6-2, by Memorial’s Brad Fernandez.

“I played terrible,” senior Chad Wathen said after the match, “so I don’t want to talk about it. We were aweful and they played a strong game.”

Memorial improved to 4-1 on the season.

Despite losing their second match of the tournament, the campus boys’ tennis team rebounded to win the Group 3 portion of the Central California Challenge tennis championship when they defeated Sierra High, 4-2, on March 4.

After beating Ceasar Chavez, 4-2, in their opening match on March 3, FC dropped the second match to host Central by the same score later in the day. After the first day’s matches, the teams were divided into groups and the Eagles were placed in Group 3 with three Division III opponents despite FC’s Division V ranking.

Yet the boys were undaunted by their tough draw and promptly opened with two straight wins on March 4 before the championship game against Sierra. The Eagles defeated Bakersfield High, 4-2, and Kingsburg High by the same score.

“The Sierra game was fantastic,” coach Ken LeRoy said. “It was a tight, exciting match. We played a top team from Division III and played well.”

Sophomore No. 1 ranked Justin Bridges put the Eagles up 3-2 when he defeated his opponent in a super tie-breaker (10-8) to put FC in a position to win the group.

Doubles team, Eric Beneke and Bill Cowin gave the team their fourth point to secure the victory. Other winners were Chad Wathen and Corey Maxey.

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