PALMDALE — The Knight and Highland girls tennis teams played four tiebreaker sets on Tuesday afternoon.
It’s not surprising the two teams, competing for second place in the Golden League, needed a tiebreaker to determine the overall winner.
The two teams tied 9-9 for the second time this season and Knight won the tiebreaker on games, 83-82, at Palmdale High School.
Highland beat Knight on a tiebreaker on Sept. 20, 78-76.
“I feel great,” Knight coach Connie Stockemer said. “This is the moment we’ve been working for. I think it’s just been a lot of hard work and dedication.
“They just kept playing their hearts out. I’m just so proud.”
Knight (10-3) entered the match in third place, behind Highland (10-3) with one match remaining in the regular season.
Knight plays at Palmdale on Thursday and Highland plays Littlerock at Quartz Hill High School.
“I feel pretty good,” Knight senior Amaya Colson said. “I feel that I did better than the last time we played them.”
Colson, the No. 2 singles player for the Hawks, won two of her three sets, including one on a tiebreaker, finishing 1-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-1.
Colson said she won two sets in the first matchup, but improved.
“It was harder for me,” Colson said of the first matchup.
Colson said getting more experience on the court, in her second varsity season, has helped her improve.
“I try to stay relaxed on the court and not get stressed,” Colson said. “I try to remind myself it’s just a game. I try not to think about it.
“I just have to do my best out here. After last time, I was hoping for a win. I’m just excited to be a part of the team. This is exciting for us as a team and makes us work harder.”
Knight No. 1 singles player Marijane Garcia also won two sets, finishing 0-6, 6-2, 6-3.
Highland No. 1 singles player Bernadette Bravo swept her three sets, 6-0, 6-1, 6-1, while the Bulldogs’ No. 2, Kiara Orlanda, and No. 3, Nicole Padilla, singles players both won one set apiece.
The Knight No. 1 doubles team of seniors Dallas Riley and Natalia Guardado won two of three sets, finishing 6-2, 6-2, 6-7 (5-7).
Riley and Guardado lost the tiebreaker to Highland’s team of Naya Jackson and Saleida Sanchez.
“We haven’t been to the playoffs in 10 years,” said Riley.
“I feel good,” Guardado said. “We were motivated. Our team has improved so much from last year.”
The No. 3 doubles team for Knight, Vanessa Garcia and Giselle Ornelas, also won two sets.
Garcia and Ornelas were involved in two tiebreakers, losing one 5-7 to the Highland team of Brittney Lopez and Liz Lomeli, and beating Jackson and Sanchez, 7-6 (9-7).
Knight jumped out to a 4-2 lead, winning two tiebreakers in the first round of play.
“Those two tiebreakers in the first round killed us,” Highland coach Linda Ruiz said. “We knew this would be a close match.
“It’s a bummer.”
Highland rebounded to tie the match at 5-5.
Knight had an 8-7 lead, but trailing 9-8 Highland won the final doubles set to tie the match.
Highland’s No. 1 team of Lopez and Lomeli won two sets, 2-6, 6-4, 7-5, as did the No. 3 team of Jackson and Sanchez, 7-6, 6-4, 6-7 (7-9).
Knight’s No. 2 team of London Newman and Sandra Henriquez won one set.
The Hawks finished sixth last season, and for at least the last 10 years, according to Stockemer.
“Highland is always in second place,” Stockemer said. “I’m just so proud.
“Win or lose, we made it to CIF and it’s been a while since Knight made it to CIF.”
The Golden League Individual Finals, which is the qualifier for the CIF-Southern Section Individual playoffs, is Saturday at Quartz Hill High School, starting at 8:30 a.m.
Colson said she missed the league finals last season, playing in a softball game that day.
“I’m excited to see what it’s about and get the experience,” Colson said.