Decker-Sadowski’s big win pushes Dons through

UPDATED WEDNESDAY: Santa Barbara lost a coin-flip with Chadwick on Wednesday, forcing the Dons to travel to Los Angeles for Thursday’s semifinal match. The match will be played at the Peninsula Racquet Club starting at 2 p.m. Chadwick, champions of the Prep League, defeated Los Alamitos 13-5 in the quarterfinals to advance.

Rachel Decker-Sadowski provided the knockout punch on Tuesday for the Santa Barbara girls tennis team, knocking the wind out of Esperanza in a 12-6 victory in the quarterfinals of the CIF Division II playoffs.

Decker-Sadowski found herself down 2-5 in her opening set against Esperanza’s No. 1 player Molly Mayer. Decker-Sadowski, with players and coaches all watching, battled back and won the final five games to take the set 7-5 and complete a Dons sweep in the first round.

“She took a lot of energy out of their sails with that,” explained Dons head coach Steve Geremia, who was able to rest his starters in the third round because the match’s outcome had been decided. “A big key to the (overall) win was the 6-0 there.”

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“Quite frankly I thought they did a great job,” continued Geremia, pleased to get his younger players some playoff experience.

Geremia highlighted the play of freshman Alex Demopoulos even though she lost her one set.

“She played a great match,” he said. “She lost, but played very well.”

Ariana and Talia Hudson swept their three sets in doubles and Hanna Grokenberger teamed with Grace Flintermann to take two more without a loss. Haley Hranicky-Galitzer and Aurora Garrison, Channel League champions, triumphed in two-of-their-three sets.

Taryn Mjelde was the only Dons singles player to play three sets, winning twice.

The Dons play the survivor of Chadwick and Los Alamitos on Thursday, with a coin flip on Wednesday determining the site.

SANTA BARBARA 12, ESPERANZA 6

SB Singles — Rachel Decker-Sadowski 2-0, Stephanie Thornton 0-1, Taryn Mjelde 2-1, Ari Beckerman 1-1, Alex Demopoulos 0-1.
SB Doubles – Ariana Hudson/Talia Hudson 3-0, Hanna Grokenberger/Grace Flintermann 2-0, Savannah Fox/Emily Baum 0-1, Haley Hranicky-Galitzer/Aurora Garrison 2-1.

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