FOLSOM, Calif. – The top-seeded St. Francis tennis team lost to No. 2 Granite Bay in a tightly-contested 5-4 Sac-Joaquin Section final on Thursday at Broadstone Racquet Club.
"We knew going in it was going to be super tight," said Head Coach Kristi Spector. "It was a true showcase of two teams equally matched playing the best tennis of the season. To lose 5-4 is really hard. It came down to a great match and I am really proud of all of my girls."
St. Francis (20-2) lost for only the second time this season, breaking their 20-match win streak, while falling in the section final for the second consecutive season.
"I think today was a great experience for them to play under pressure and with people cheering," said Spector. "You have to focus on your individual match. This is only going to help us on Friday."
The Grizzlies jumped out a 3-1 lead in the match, winning at No. 1 and 2 singles. Senior Adithi Benush lost to Aarthi Sridhar 3-6, 6-2, 6-1, while Alisha Anwar dropped her match 7-5, 6-0 to Hailey Montgomery. SF got a win from senior Samantha Sonntag at No. 3, posting a comeback 0-6, 6-4, 6-2 win.
Doubles provided wins in two of the three matches. Senior Peyton Spellacy and junior Maddie Brown won a three-set thriller at No. 2 and sophomore Lauren Lai and junior Emmy Goebels record a 6-7 (3), 6-1, 6-1 victory.
"I always feel like it is the three of the most important matches," said Spector of her doubles. "We are really strong and really deep. It showed in our No. 2 and 3 doubles. I am really proud of those girls,"
GB won at No. 1 doubles to pull within one point from clinching at 4-2, leaving the No. 4 and 6 singles matches to decide it. Sophomore Safaa Umar pulled out the win at No. 4 with a 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3) that required a tiebreaker in the third set. The Grizzlies clinched it with a in at No. 6.
"I was just telling myself I could do it," said Umar. "Every single person put their all out on the court. Today we fell short but maybe on another day we can overcome them.
St. Francis will play in the CIF Northern California Regionals for the fourth consecutive season starting Feb. 22. Brackets will be announced Monday.