Just two years away from winning back-to-back Citrus Belt League championships, the 2018 tennis team is off to a good start in its attempt to regain the league lead. Led by young singles players Catherine Carrizosa and Sharon Chu, the Thunderbirds have started the new season with convincing nonleague wins over Chaparral, Oak Hills and Aquinas.
YHS coach Scott Salinas said many new faces will be playing key roles this year. Salinas graduated all-league performers Hannah Aldrich and Camile Browning but have returning three-year varsity doubles player Riley Gorrell. She will be joined by versatile Emily Emmens who earned plenty of playing time last season as a singles player. Miranda Dominguez, Kayden Hadley and Savannah Orton are experienced seniors expected to see considerable playing time. Salinas says there are others pushing for a varsity spot and a significant amount of playing time.
Salinas acknowledged that defending CBL champion Redlands returns a strong lineup as does Redlands East Valley. YHS finished third in CBL last season at 9-4 and 10-7 overall.
“With the realignment of the CBL and losing Eisenhower and Miller, it has taken away a playoff spot from the league.”
He thinks Citrus Valley and Cajon will be battling his team for the third and final playoff spot. "
“Most league matches are going to come down to just a few points in each set.”
Salinas feels that Carrizosa and Chu have put in a lot of work during the offseason which prepares them for the difficult challenges expected in “each and every” set this year. Both sharpened their skills by playing regularly in United States Tennis Association tournaments in Southern California. Carrizosa recovered from an injury early in her freshman year last season and went on to win a starting position as a singles player. Salinas described Carrizosa’s comeback as amazing.
“To eventually win a starting position as a singles player is something difficult to do as a freshman.”
Nearly all of Carrizosa’s teammates last season also agreed that she was the new rising star in the school’s tennis program.
YHS will play its next home game Sept. 13 with Temecula Valley, following road games at Beaumont and Rim of the World. It opens CBL action Sept. 18 at home against Carter. It travels to REV on Sept. 20, then hosts Redlands, Sept. 25. Despite the rugged league schedule, Salinas says the nonleague game with Temecula Valley will be the toughest of the year.