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Cougars edge 2nd-place Sierra
Bowens win at No. 1 singles the difference
Cougars No. 1 singles player Nicole Bowen put together an impressive match against Sierra High Tuesday, dropping Vannida Nguyen 6-1, 6-4. - photo by Bulletin file photo
WESTON RANCH – This Valley Oak League season had been full of firsts for the Weston Ranch Cougars, and if the season were to end today they would be in first-place. But the team’s business is far from done, as it took a gigantic step towards their goal with a 3-2 win over Sierra High Tuesday.

The Cougars (11-0) are continuously showing the VOL they are a strong force, getting their points from a doubles team win and an intense showing from the singles players. Sierra would not go quietly, getting a win from its undefeated No. 1 doubles team of Stephanie Vanni and Maryann Baker but not nearly enough.

“Today was one of those days where the points didn’t come from the expected places,” Weston Ranch head coach Jason Furtado. “We try and map it out to see what girls turn it is to step up, and today it was Nicole (Bowen).

“She got a huge win against a strong No. 1 from Sierra.”
The No. 1 singles match proved to be the difference, with both schools splitting the doubles matches and Sierra getting a singles victory from Ann McFerren from an injury forfeit. Bowen’s 6-1, 6-4 win against Vannida Nguyen dictated the balance of the match.

“I had to be really, really focused for every point and just kept my thinking on each particular point,” Bowen said. “As a team, this year, we have been amazing. I do not even know how we have gotten this good. The last couple of years we have been trying really hard, and now you can see we are getting better.

“This year has been our best year.”

The Timberwolves are no slouch, making Weston Ranch’s accomplishments that more impressive. Nguyen tried to claw herself back into the match with Bowen, but after dropping the opening set, succumbing to the challenge proved inevitable.

“She definitely didn’t play her best tennis today,” Sierra head coach Marti Teunissen said of Nguyen. “Sometimes with tennis it can be a big mental game; you’re out there by yourself and if you get down it is tough to get back up. The first game of the set she won and she was playing awesome tennis.

“All of a sudden, she lost one and that’s when momentum began spiraling down.”

The Timberwolves got another strong performance from its doubles team of Vanni and Baker, winning in straight sets 6-2, 6-2 to remain perfect thus far in the VOL season.

“I think that Maryann’s game has improved so much, she has come such a long way,” Vanni said. “We have really clicked together; we have a great team chemistry where we know what each other is going to do.

“The scores today don’t even reflect on how good those players were, they were really good.”

Sierra will try to get back on the right side of the win-loss column when they host Manteca High Thursday, while the Cougars will try and remain undefeated when they host Kimball.