CIF CHAMPS! Carpinteria wins D-5 title for second straight year

Carpinteria won its second straight CIF Division 5 girls team tennis championship.

Carpinteria won its second straight CIF Division 5 girls team tennis championship.


Top-seeded Carpinteria won its second straight CIF Division 5 girls tennis championship on Friday, beating Riverside Poly 12-6 in the final ?at the Claremont Club.

This is the third straight year the Warriors have been in the CIF final. They defeated JW North of Riverside in last year?s title match.

“Winning CIF for the second time is so unbelievable and exciting,” junior Kelsie Bryant said. “We’ve worked toward this day the entire season and it paid off.”

Carpinteria dominated Poly in singles, winning eight of the nine sets. Kelsie Bryant didn?t lose a game in sweeping her three singles sets. Freshman Odessa Stork also went 3-0 at No. 3 singles and Kassandra Ni went 2-1.

“It feels great to win, and I still can’t wrap my head around it,” said Stork. “I also know that it is probably even more meaningful for my teammates, who have known each other for so long and it is great that they were able to repeat this achievement again this year. I am very grateful for being able to help them out a little; being on the team was a wonderful experience.”

In doubles, the team of Lesly Zapata-Natalie Saito won three sets and Emily Saito and Makenna Pike nabbed the other set victory in a tiebreaker, 7-6 (5).

Carpinteria's Odessa Stork, Kassandra Ni and Kelsie Bryant won eight of nine singles matches in the final.

Carpinteria’s Odessa Stork, Kassandra Ni and Kelsie Bryant won eight of nine singles matches in the final.

“We knew going in that the doubles for Poly were their stronger half, but their singles were also quite competitive,” Carpinteria coach Charles Brtyant said. ” I was hoping we would have swept singles with wide game margins and sneak a few doubles sets just in case but our doubles played brilliantly. ”

Although they did not win, Carpinteria’s No. 1 doubles team of Merissa Souza-Gabi Montes De Oca set the tone that they were not going to be pushovers with a tough 7-6 loss against Poly’s top team. The No. 2 duo of Makenna-Emily Saito also won a key first-round matchup, 7-6.?The Warriors picked up a default win at No. 3 doubles as one of the Poly players rolled her ankle and could not continue. ?Natalie Saito-Lesly Zapata were leading 2-0 at the time.

Combined with the sweeps in singles, the Warriors took a 5-1 lead after the first round of play.

Carpinteria won four sets in the second round to take a commanding 9-3 advantage.

“Since our singles were playing so well, it almost became a race to see who would get the championship 10th point,” coach Bryant said. “As it turned out, Odessa took the honor with her 6-1 win. ?Kelsie followed with her third straight 6-0 set. ?Allison Wagner had subbed in for Kassandra and played valiantly in her 6-1 loss to the Bears No. 1 player.

“In doubles. we ?subbed in Jackie Wilson for Emily and although they lost to their No. 1 team Makenna and Jackie played great throughout the final set.”

With the final set of the day just finishing up, the Warriors rushed the courts to encircle Merissa and Gabi and celebrate their back-to-back CIF championship.

Carpinteria finished the season at 23-2, with its ?only losses coming against Division 1 program Dos Pueblos and Division 3 San Luis Obispo.

“It was an incredible year and one that I truly am just glad to be a part of again,” said coach Bryant. “Each of the past three years have been amazing and different in their own ways. ?This year the girls were one big, happy family that enjoyed coming to practice and working hard. They are an amazing group of girls who are not just solid tennis players but also show great sportsmanship to their opponents and genuinely have a fun time on the courts.

“This season will definitely be hard if not impossible to replicate.”