When they’re away, winning tennis games is no sweat for her.
Knowing this, Amaro made just one appearance at Tuesday’s Bay Valley Athletic League Tournament championship match pitting Hurtado against Antioch’s Rachel Harris. After Amaro made the rounds to other games at Oakley’s Diamond Hills Sports Club, Hurtado put her game face back on, and the senior calmly defeated Harris 6-2, 6-1 for the BVAL tournament singles title.
“Nadean is the most consistent tennis player that we’ve had at Freedom,” Amaro said. “She understands enough of the tactics to make her opponents uncomfortable. It’s not that she’s going to hit a putaway shot that can blow past you for the win. She will make her opponent miss.”
To earn her first spot in the North Coast Section playoffs – which start Nov. 15 at James Logan High School in Union City – Hurtado beat Panthers Harris, Racquel Gragg, Alicia Collins, teammate Amanda Weaver and Deer Valley’s Anna Sundin. The matchup of Harris and Hurtado represented the top two overall seeds in the tournament.
Gragg bounced back to claim third place by defeating Freedom’s Mansi Saini.
Hurtado wasn’t the only Falcon who made it to the final round. Freedom’s doubles team of Madison Mills and Danielle Fender claimed wins over the top duos from Liberty and Pittsburg before falling in the championship match to Heritage.
Meanwhile, as Hurtado and Harris battled it out, the talented Heritage doubles squad of juniors Megan Cleek and Alyssa Ancheta defeated Mills and Fender in an exciting matchup. Freedom put up a fight in the first game, as the Patriots claimed a close 6-4 victory. But in the second match, Cleek and Ancheta took control for a 6-0 win, punching their ticket to the NCS tourney.
“It’s great, considering the season we had,” Heritage head coach Ed Dong said. “They started off a little cold and as the game progressed, they kind of let the little butterflies go and they brought the heat.”
Dong felt that the match represented the future of Heritage tennis, as Cleek and Ancheta will be back for their senior year in 2012. Cleek is no stranger to the top spot of the doubles bracket. Last year, she and Stefanie Johnston won the BVAL Tournament’s doubles title. Cleek hopes for a three-peat in her senior season.
“I think we did really good,” Cleek said. “I was really nervous because I didn’t know if we were going to win, during the first set.”
Liberty’s doubles team – Hannah Fugazzi and Alexis Esquivel – earned third-place honors after dropping a tough match against Freedom’s Mills and Fender, who won the first game 6-4. The Lions rallied for a 6-1 victory, but couldn’t hold off the Falcons, who claimed a 7-5 win. Liberty then defeated Heritage’s Jennifer Johnston and Jeannete Shepherd in the third-place game.