The Clovis North girls tennis team knew its quest for a third straight Division I Central Section title would be no walk in the park, despite its perfect 20-0 record.
Standing in the team’s way was second-seeded Arroyo Grande, a balanced team from the Central Coast boasting two college Division I players.
However, the Broncos proved more than formidable, beating the Eagles 6-3 to capture the D-I title and cement themselves as a dominant program.
“It is exhilarating to be a part of something so monumental,” senior Jordan Pickett said. “It’s rare for a team to win one championship, let alone three in a row. I’m thrilled to have been a part of all the teams and success.”
Pickett won two matches on the day – at No. 4 singles over Emma Mostajo 6-1, 6-2 and doubles with Katie Kucera to defeat Natalie Porter and Elaina Smolin 6-1, 6-2.
Clovis North coach Bryan Juinio played his roster perfectly, strategizing around the talented Dunkle sisters of Arroyo Grande, senior Delaney and sophomore Peyton.
Last week, Delany beat sister Peyton for the Central Section individual title played at Redwood High School.
Against Clovis North, No. 1 Delaney beat Mercedes Garcia 6-2, 6-2 and No. 2 Peyton Dunkle defeated Ashley Cardot 6-0, 6-2. Clovis North beat the Eagles twice earlier in the year.
“They are a great team, but we were prepared for them,” Pickett said. “We had played them early in the season so we knew about their talent. Our team had a huge desire to beat them and back up our other wins.
“It was our grit, determination, and team spirit that pulled us through to the win. I know our coaches spent a lot of time working on the lineup to give us the best chance at success.”
No. 5 and 6 singles were won by Clovis North’s Manu Javangula, over Devan Doud 6-3, 7-6 (3) and Nyari Muchaka over Kaitlyn Zarate 6-4, 6-3.
In addition to making school history on the court, the girls had an enormous amount of fun off the court, adding to the excitement of winning a Valley title.
“This season we focused a lot on supporting each other both on and off the court,” Pickett added. “Each player wanted to win for the other players, which drove us to keep pushing ourselves in training and during matches. Our coaches pushed us to be the best we could and always believed in us.”