Lompoc's and Cabrillo's tennis seasons came to an end on Wednesday in the first round of the Division 3 playoffs.
Cabrillo beat Redlands Citrus Valley 11-7 in a wildcard on Tuesday to earn a first-round match against No. 1 ranked Valencia High of Placentia. The Conqs lost to Valencia Wednesday to end their season.
The Braves traveled to Yorba Linda for their first-round matchup and fell 12-6 to the Mustangs.
As they had all season, the doubles teams were the strength of the Braves on Wednesday, winning four sets. Genesis Garza and Edith Elenes each won two sets and lost their third by a 7-5 score. Vanessa Esqueda and Ofelia Chavez also won two sets.
Erica Gracyk was the only singles player to win any sets. She lost to Yorba Linda's No. 1, Emily Valencino, but won her other two by 6-4, 6-2 scores.
On Tuesday, Cabrillo (11-6) spotted Citrus Valley (12-8) a 4-2 lead going into the second round. Going into the third round, the sets were tied 6-6 and the Conqs led the Blackhawks 55-52 in games. The home team rolled in the last round, winning five of the six sets.
"We had a lot of motivation going into the second round," said Cabrillo senior Chrissy Hedges. She and partner Natalie Kovach, another senior, swept three sets at No. 1 doubles. The pair dropped just three games.
"We were down 4-2, and then snapped out of it," said Cabrillo coach MaryBeth Stieber after her squad won a battle between fourth-place teams. Cabrillo plays in the Los Padres League. Citrus Valley competes in the Citrus Belt League. Both teams finished 8-6 in league matches.
Hedges and Kovach cruised to a 6-0 win in the last round, and Hohimer did the same. Karley Atkin, at No. 2 singles, gave Cabrillo its ninth set, and an insurmountable lead in games, when she won 6-2 in the third round.
"I could see that it was setting up on those (courts that Hohimer, Atkin, and Hedges and Kovach played on) that we were going to win those," said Stieber. "Then we just needed to get enough games in the other ones."
Wood and Eisen won two sets, as the Conquistadores took seven of the nine doubles sets. Jordan Spice and Jaycee Jacobson earned two doubles points for Cabrillo. Those tandems earned Cabrillo's final points after Hohimer, Atkin, and Hedges and Kovach won in the third round.
Chandler Tillman swept three sets at No. 1 singles for the Blackhawks. She lost just eight games. Atkin and reserve Taylor Christen each won a singles set for the Conquistadores.
Allie Burroughs and Rachel Hidalgo, Blackhawks coach Peter Hidalgo's daughter, each won a singles set for Citrus Valley. Aviles and Hernandez, and Bailey Kimery and Jackie Nguyen earned a doubles point apiece for the Blackhawks.
LPL Water Polo
Cabrillo 6, Lompoc 5
Cabrillo High's 6-5 victory over Lompoc on Tuesday was a Los Padres League tournament semifinal that will be remembered for years by the players and fans whose nerves were wracked at the Lompoc Aquatic Center.
The win was the fourth in a row by one goal for the iron-willed Conqs. And the 6-5 score was the same as when the two teams met two weeks ago. Except the stakes were even higher on Tuesday — a spot in the league championship game on Thursday against Santa Ynez.
With 21 seconds left and the score tied 5-5, head coach Jeff Dacus called a time out and drew up a play for the Conqs' Trevor Whitham to get off a shot.
But the Braves' defense scuttled that plan. Cabrillo quickly improvised by tossing the ball into Devan Rosales in the hole set. Rosales whipped in a shot before help could arrive.
Pandemonium erupted from the Cabrillo supporters while the Braves were only able to muster a desperate shot in the final 13 seconds.
"We knew it was going to be a one-point game," Dacus said. "It's going to be hard to play them (Lompoc) and they're not going to quit. It's going to be a battle the whole time."
The drama of the final minute was set up by a critical block by Lompoc goalie Phoenix Herrigel.
Lompoc trailed 5-3 with a little more than a minute left in the game when Herrigel blocked a shot from Marty Kourakos, who had a one-on-one opportunity on a breakaway. Herrigel quickly heaved a pass to Javier Hernandez near Cabrillo's goal. In a flash of flailing limbs, Hernandez scored with 1:07 left in the game to trail by one.
Lompoc's defense held firm on Cabrillo's next possession and head coach Taylor Emery called a time out with 37 seconds remaining.
With a defender draped over him, Austin Nixa was able to get just enough space to sneak a shot under the arm of Cabrillo goalie Sam Reep. The ball seemed to almost roll across the top of the water and came to a stop just inside the net.
The emotional high of the Lompoc bench came crashing down only a few seconds after Rosales' goal.
"We had opportunities," Emery said. "We just couldn't finish."
Cabrillo will play Santa Ynez for the championship at 4 p.m. on Thursday at the Lompoc Aquatic Center. Lompoc will play Nipomo at 3 p.m. for third place.
Nipomo 3, Lompoc 0
The Titans (9-5 Los Padres League) can finish no worse than fourth in the LPL after finishing their regular season by sweeping the Braves 25-22, 25-12, 25-14 on Bryan Ayer Court on Tuesday night at Lompoc's Paisola Pavilion.
Mackenzie Bland racked up six service aces and five kills for Nipomo, which wrapped up a playoff spot. Gwen Menane led the Titans in kills with nine. Gwen Abatti had four kills.