The Garces girls tennis team has been one of the most decorated in school history with 17 league titles.
But since the Rams entered the Southwest Yosemite League in 2014, Garces have claimed just one outright title, in 2016.
Garces took a big step forward on Thursday to securing another, beating Stockdale 8-1 at home. The Rams are now 5-0 in SWYL play and handed the Mustangs their first league loss of the season.
“We’ve been talking about this match for months and now to finally have it here and us producing on the court and come out (8-1) ahead is awesome,” Garces coach Barb Johnston Hill said. “It’s a good feeling.”
The Rams completed the victory before doubles play began as Stephanie Mercado beat Lily Wang 6-3, 6-3 in No. 6 singles.
“It is satisfying. But last year she had a good match against Stockdale,” Johnston Hill said. “Her freshman year she had a good win against them. I don’t know what it is about Stockdale, but it brings the best out in Steph. She played her heart out for us today and clinched it.”
The first Ram to come away victorious was freshman Kylee Limpias, beating Kierstin Anderson 6-1, 6-3 in No. 3 singles. Just moments later in No. 2 singles, Jackie Sala defeated Gabi Guijarro 6-3, 6-3 and Alexsia Drulias beat longtime friend Greta Krueger 6-3, 6-2 in No. 1 singles to give the Rams a commanding 3-0 lead.
“She’s a great competitor,” Drulias said of Krueger. “Something seemed to click. I seemed to put together a couple games in a row and took the lead from there. I was able to hit my shots and loosen up from there.”
Junior Sierra Kent battled into a tie-breaker set and for the second time this week and came away victorious, beating Jasmine Flores 6-3, 5-7 (10-8) in No. 4 singles to fittingly give the Rams a 4-0 lead before Mercado secured it for Garces (13-3, 5-0).
The Rams swept doubles play with Drulias and Sala teaming up for an 8-3 win over Krueger and Anderson. Limpias and Kent beat Guijarro and Flores 8-7 and Teresa Demler and Bella Etcheverria won the No. 3 doubles, 8-6.
“We need to keep working,” Johnston Hill said. “We have a lot we can improve on, but we are going to celebrate this one today.”