The Lompoc High School girls tennis team has earned a divisional championship in its first season as a member of the CIF Central Section.
The No. 10 Braves (19-2) finished a run of wins at higher seeds by edging No. 1 Kerman 5-4 at Kerman Thursday to win the Division 3 championship.
Rianna Stouppe, Lompoc's No. 2 singles player, capped an unbeaten season in singles and doubles by teaming with Vera Ortiz for a win in the No. 1 doubles match to give the Braves their clinching point.
Stouppe and Ortiz, a strong doubles team for Lompoc all year, won their match 6-3, 6-1 Thursday, wrapping up the title for the Braves before the last doubles match of the day was over.
"I was a little bit nervous," going into the match, knowing that it could well be the deciding one, Stouppe said at the Northern Santa Barbara County Athletic Round Table (NSBCART) luncheon Monday.
During the match, "I played at the net and (Stouppe) played back," said Ortiz, who is a senior foreign exchange student from Spain. "She ran down everything back there. We were able to make it work.
"We both served pretty well," during the match.
Ortiz said, "(Kerman) had good singles players. Our doubles teams were stronger."
Lompoc joined fellow former Channel League members Cabrillo and Santa Ynez in a move from the CIF Southern Section to the Central Section effective this school year.
Thursday, the Braves split their six singles matches against the Lions. Ava Velasco and Sofia Larios, a solid doubles team for the Braves all year, gave Lompoc a 4-3 lead then Ortiz and Stouppe garnered the point that gave the Braves the title.
Ortiz won at No. 1 singles Thursday, Stouppe won at No. 2, and Emma White won at No. 4 for Lompoc.
White gave the Braves a huge come-from-behind 4-6, 6-4 (10-4) win. White reeled off the last eight points to win the third-set 10-point tiebreak 10-4 after trailing 4-2 early.
"She played pretty similar to me - just hitting it back and forth," said White. "It was really a game of who would mess up first. Sometimes our rallies would last 30 shots. I'd be just standing there thinking 'Get this OVER with.'"
White said, "I think the reason I lost the first set was because of nerves. After the first set, I started hitting more to her backhand. It's harder to hit a big shot (on the backhand wing), so I started hitting it more there, letting her have a chance to make the mistakes."
The Braves started their run in the playoffs with a 6-0 win at No. 7 Paso Robles in the first round. The Bearcats saddled the Braves with one of their two losses, 5-4 in Lompoc's season opener.
Lompoc won 6-3 at No. 2 Fresno Christian in the Division 3 quarterfinals then took a 5-2 win at No. 3 Dinuba in the semis. The last two doubles matches were not played in that one because the Braves had already clinched the match.
The Braves, with Santa Ynez and Cabrillo, moved to the Ocean League from the tough Channel League upon their switch to the Central Section from the Southern Section. Lompoc rolled to the league championship with a 14-0 Ocean League campaign.
Every area school except Valley Christian Academy has moved from the Southern Section to the Central Section.
Boys water polo
Cabrillo, AG advance
The Arroyo Grande and Cabrillo boys water polo teams moved into the championship game in the CIF Central Section Division 1 and 3 playoffs respectively with semifinal wins Wednesday.
Pioneer Valley, in its first-ever playoff appearance, came up a goal short in the Division 3 semis.
Top seed Arroyo Grande (24-7) rolled to a 15-6 win against No. 5 Clovis Buchanan (13-11) at Arroyo Grande in a Division 1 semifinal. The Eagles led 5-3 going into the second quarter then steadily pulled away.
Arroyo Grande will host No. 2 Clovis North (18-10) at 11 a.m. Saturday in the Division 1 title game. Clovis North defeated No. 3 Clovis 10-4 in the other Division 1 semi.
No. 3 Cabrillo (15-8) upset No. 2 Hanford Sierra Pacific (18-11) 12-9 at Sierra Pacific in a Division 3 semifinal Wednesday. Cabrillo goalkeeper Ethan Stocker has been steady all year and will lead the Conquistadores into the Division 3 title game, at No. 1 Madera Saturday at a time TBA.
Pioneer Valley beat Madera twice during the regular season, but couldn't top the top seed a third time. The Coyotes (18-12) edged the Panthers (17-13) 10-9 in a Division 3 semifinal at Madera.
Madera led 4-2 at halftime Wednesday.
Adrian Eisner and Victor Cambero scored four goals apiece for the Panthers. Nickolas Limon made one, and Pioneer Valley goalkeeper Luis Padilla made 10 saves.
Eisner, the Panthers season scoring leader, connected on all four of his shots.
Boys cross country