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VOL champions not done yet

Weston Ranch ready for first-ever playoff match

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VOL champions not done yet

The Weston Ranch Cougars will enjoy a first-round bye, but then the Cougars' No. 2 doubles tandem of Nancy Nguyen and Chelsea Olitan will have to make significant contributions for their postseason...

Bulletin file photo/

POSTED October 27, 2010 3:10 a.m.

Just about everything that could go right did for the Weston Ranch tennis team this year, putting together the school’s first-ever Valley Oak League girls tennis championship and Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoff berth.

The group closed out the VOL campaign with a perfect 14-0 record, fending off stern competition from Sierra and Sonora highs. Weston Ranch blossomed in a league that no longer had to battle through the talented Ceres High team, turning optimistic season hopes into a better season than imaginable.

“I don’t think it has really set in for the girls as to what they have accomplished,” Weston Ranch head coach Jason Furtado said. “I think it will once the playoffs are over; we’ll get to sit back and reflect on how much work and dedication went into this season.

“They really have been like superstars on this campus.”

The Cougars have been able to bring home championships on the football field and on the basketball court, but their unbelievable ride on the tennis courts has been a surprise to all. Now, it will be up the team to put together another surprise, this time on a bigger stage.

Weston Ranch is one of eight programs to draw a first-round bye, earning the right to rest up and wait on the Del Oro-Kennedy matchup. Del Oro hails from the Sierra Foothill League, while Kennedy comes from the Metropolitan Conference, both giving the Cougars a formidable opponent in their first match.

“We are going to approach either team like we have done every team all year,” Furtado said. “We are not worried about where they’re from or how good they were, our job is to go in there and wear them down physically and mentally.

“If we are able to accomplish that and at least be competitive on the court, we will be OK.”

Weston Ranch standout Nicole Bowen will need a strong performance if the Cougars are going to move on. Bowen put together her best season in her fourth in the program, but will need a huge showing during the SJS postseason.

“I feel kind of lazy right now, but hopefully by the match I will be more focused by then,” Bowen said in the midst of a Weston Ranch practice. “Throughout the season I lost some matches and the doubles lost even less, we all depended on each other.

“We were really able to work together as a team.”

Weston Ranch’s No. 1 doubles team of Ly Hoang and Cristina Poklay are excited about the opportunity and feel this group has the capability to do something special.

“This year we have felt connected,” Hoang said of her team. “At the beginning we were just different people and we had different strategies; we had so many different people and we weren’t that good. By the end of the season, we had all come together.

“To me, that’s all that mattered.”

Each team will have lineups of six singles players and three doubles pairs. Each match will be two-out-of-three, with the first team winning five matches earning the victory.

Sierra High will open the tournament against the Capital Athletic League’s No. 3 seed Whitney High. A win in their first round action will put them against Sierra Foothill League champion Granite Bay. Sierra will begin first-round match Monday at 2 p.m. hosting Whitney, while Weston Ranch’s first match will be Tuesday at the same time.

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