Warriors’ magical CIF run ends in finals

Freshman Kelsie Bryant had a strong postseason for Carpinteria, only losing one set before the final. (Presidio Sports Photo)

CLAREMONT – The amazing – and unprecedented – CIF run put together by Carpinteria’s girls tennis team came to an end at Monday’s CIF-ss championships, as the Warriors fell to Wilson of Hacienda Heights 15-3 in the Division V final.

Carpinteria made the finals by coming up with upset after upset during the postseason. The Warriors beat three league champions en route to Monday’s final, but one more victory proved elusive.

Despite the loss, the season will enter the books as one of Carpinteria’s most successful girls tennis season in school history. The Warriors won their first league title since 1977 and made the Division V title match for the first time in program history. The Warriors made the Division II-A title match in 1977 but finished runner-up.

“I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better senior season,” said Warriors doubles player Shanya Norman. “It just went so far and it surpassed any of my goals or dreams. We’ve just become so close as a team, as a family.”


Though the Warriors beat the division top seed last week, Wilson proved to be a deeper team with a pair of strong singles players in Natalie Johnson and Meagan Zamilpa. Johnson and Zamilpa finished their postseasons with undefeated records in five CIF matches.

Carpinteria’s Frontier League singles champion Kelsie Bryant – only a freshman – had dropped one set during the postseason before falling to Johnson and Zamilpa 6-1, 7-5.

“We lost to the better team,” said Warriors coach Charles Bryant.

Set were hard to come by for Carpinteria, but the doubles team of Erin Saito and Lesly Zapata won two of three sets and Kassandra Ni won her singles match in the first round.

It was 10-2 after two rounds and with the match already decided the players went out to finish the match as it got dark.

“It was an amazing season. We got further than we have in 34 years,” said Warriors senior Katherine Delk. “It’s just been so much fun and I’m happy I chose to play tennis again.”

Many of the Warriors were staying positive despite the loss.

“It’s amazing how far we got,” said Carpinteria senior Sidney Gross, who tweaked a hamstring in the first game of the first set and had to default. “But just this team, we get along so well, we’re always laughing and happy.

“Even if we lose, I’d rather lose with this team than win on any other team.”

Carpinteria finishes its season with a 16-3 record. Wilson is 21-1.

“We definitely, definitely exceeded expectations,” Bryant said.