High School Sports

Arroyo Grande girls tennis team wins thriller, advances to semis

Arroyo Grande High’s girls tennis team won its road quarterfinal match Monday by a thread on the string of a racket.

The Eagles are the No. 1 seed in the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 bracket. They beat Vista Murrieta 9-9 and 76-75 in a tiebreaker.

The Eagles (19-1) now move on to the semifinals, where they will host No. 4 Malibu at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Arroyo Grande’s total number of games won made the difference in the tiebreaker by the smallest of margins.

The Eagles’ doubles team of Olivia Madison and Mekayla Landers were down 4-3 in the final match of the day.

They managed to win two more games in the set — losing 7-5. Their game tally turned out to be the difference in the team scoring and gave Arroyo Grande the 76-75 edge.

“Vista Murrieta was a really good serving and receiving team, and that gave us some trouble,” Eagles coach Lori Hollister said. “We also were a little bit jetlagged. It’s a long drive down there, almost to San Diego.”

Arroyo Grande’s No. 1 singles player, Sophie Whittle, swept her matches 6-2, 6-4, 6-0, and the No. 2 singles player, Lauren Hayashi, won 6-2, 6-0, 6-4.

The doubles team of Joanne Phung and Angelica Gagliano took two of three sets — 4-6, 6-4, 6-0.

Madison and Landers won one of their sets, 6-1.

The Eagles faced early adversity in the contest, going down 4-2 in the first round with their only wins coming from Whittle and Hayashi.

They bounced back in the second round with a 4-2 edge and finished 3-3 in the final round to knot the contest at 9.

“Olivia and Mekayla’s last set was so important,” Hollister said. “They didn’t know they just had to win a couple of games for us to take the match.”