FAIRFIELD — The Armijo High girls tennis team is unbeaten and focused on winning its third straight Monticello Empire League title.
The Vanden squad is looking to get back to the top in the Solano County Athletic Conference after winning the title last season.
Rodriguez has plenty of returning players, while Fairfield has had its coach for only a matter of days.
All of which adds up to an interesting 2013 season.
Here’s a closer look at each of the city teams:
The Indians return nine starters, including Lenora Quinonez, an MEL singles finalist a year ago, at No. 1. Also back in singles are Kathleen Boholst, Tiffany Mestas and Linh Nguyen, with newcomers Reagan Corley and Amanda Currier rounding out the ladder.
The Indians also feature doubles teams of Jaimi Garlington and Stephanie Weber at No. 1, Jasmine Yasir and Alicia Perez at No. 2, and Anjelica Balalong and Anna Cardoso at No. 3.
“Our strengths, as always, are our doubles, and this year outstanding depth at singles,” said Greg Davis, who’s in his 10th season as Indians girls coach. “Our top six singles solid and very strong.”
The combination has the Indians in solid position to repeat as league champions.
“With the rest of the MEL looking to knock us off, nothing is taken lightly or will be easy,” Davis said. ”We respect everyone. We look to defend our titles and make the playoffs again.”
The Vikings lost six seniors off last year’s SCAC championships squad and has already dropped a match to Benicia.
They return plenty of talent, however, including Kiwi McDaniel, Jaleena Hust and Gabriella Arca in singles, Krystal Fogata and Hailie Sheppard at No. 1 doubles.
Moving up to singles are Kendrah Black and Kylie Walker with newcomer Erika Rumbaoa also cracking the singles lineup.
Danielle Cruz and Breanna Thomas are at No. 2 doubles, with Devon Smith and Lyndi Wanlass at No. 3.
Kami Weber, Alexandria Plowman, Isabella Dombrowski and Audrey Richardson await their turns to contribute.
“We have a strong group of highly committed athletes,” said Stan Lewis, who earned his 400th career tennis victory – girls, boys and coed combined – earlier this season. “They practice and play hard. They are very smart and extremely coachable.”
With five returning starters on their singles ladder, the Mustangs figure to be stronger in 2013.
They include Julie DeVries, Marisa Mark, Gabrielle Tribelli, Chloe Hwang and Hannah Lee.
Newcomer Betsy Samonte, a senior, is at No. 1 singles.
Christine Harris returns at No. 2 doubles, where she teams with Makenzie Thomas.
Sisters Nicole and Natalie Neal, a senior and freshman, respectively, are at No. 1 singles, with returner Michaela Quillopo and newcomer Katie Ziser at No. 3.
“Last year the Rodriguez High girls tennis team was young and it was their first year playing in the more competitive MEL,” Mustangs coach Eileen Wray said. “The strength of the team is that there are a lot of returning players who were exposed to the rigor of the MEL competition last year and spent some time in the offseason getting ready to compete this year.”
The Falcons are right out of the box. First-year coach Dante Carrasco didn’t have his paperwork completed by the Fairfield-Suisun School District until last week, so he and his players are literally getting to know each other.
Playing for the Falcons this year are seniors Angelica Ledesma and Maria Santos, juniors Jasmine Gambian, Kristen Knopp, Crystal Abel, Ivella Grey, Brittany Cordero, Luna Kassis, Sienna Orfitelli and Anika Schafer, sophomores Jada Sarmiento, Justine Muolic, Classy Harshman and Kayra Domingo, and freshmen Dasha Paz-Dillahunty and Sofia Alvarez.
“We basically have a brand new team with girls that don’t have a lot of tennis experience but have great attitudes and are willing to learn,” Carrasco said. ”Our goal this year is to create a foundation to where the girls will know that there will be tennis at Fairfield high. This year we are focused on building.”
Reach Paul Farmer at 425-4646, ext. 264, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pfarmerdr.