In 12 years of coaching high school tennis, San Benito coach Ed Cecena has run up against a lot of situations, but nothing like what happened on Thursday at Ridgemark.
Monterey’s entire singles lineup was missing — all due to different reasons — forcing the Toreadores to push up their Nos. 1 and 2 doubles teams to fill the singles slots, and their No. 3 doubles team to the top doubles position.
Since it was short on players, Monterey had to forfeit Nos. 2 and 3 doubles, putting the Haybalers up 2-0 before the match even started. San Benito did the rest, rolling to a 7-0 win to stay in sole possession of first place in the Monterey Bay Gabilan Division standings.
“Sometimes things like this happen,” Cecena said. “I’m actually kind of worried that having an easy match will hurt us more than help us. We wanted a tougher match (to prepare us for Tuesday’s showdown with Salinas).”
Cecena wasn’t going to get a tough match on this day. Against a depleted Monterey squad, the Balers (9-2 overall, 7-0 in league) recorded a total of seven bagels — that’s a 6-0 winning set in tennis lingo — and dropped all of eight games.
Kelsey Slavich, Gwendolynn Fernstrom and Mikayla Irvin all won their matches via the double-bagel variety at No. 1, 3 and 4 singles, respectively. Cathy Frusetta, San Benito’s No. 2 singles player, had a much tougher time in her contest but ultimately prevailed, 7-5, 6-2.
The Balers’ top doubles team of Rachel Logue and Leeann Gutierrez also rolled to a 6-0, 6-0 victory.
“We played the way we needed to,” Slavich said. “Sometimes you can fall apart playing down to the level of your competition, but we didn’t do that.”
Tuesday’s match against Salinas should be a doozy. The Balers won the teams’ first matchup, 4-3, as Irvin clinched the decisive point. The Cowboys have been the dominant power in the Gabilan Division in the last decade.
“Salinas will be ready for us, no doubt,” Cecena said. “I know their coach was not a happy camper (after we beat them the first time). Our focus has to be on getting better.”