The two Sea Kings said the five-minute drive to RCI, in the back seat of their father’s car, with CdM Coach Brian Ricker in the front passenger seat, helped them collect themselves in the clutch situation.
“I think we calmed down in the car and were able to concentrate on the match,” said Dartmouth-bound Matsuoka, typically the Sea Kings’ No. 1 singles player, who was shifted to No. 3 doubles due to her illness.
Ricker said he also took the opportunity on the short drive to do a little coaching.
“My advice to them was: Stay calm, play your game and go for a few shots,” Ricker said. “They had kind of gotten into he high-moonball rallies with those girls. And, especially, I wanted Melissa to go down the line at least once or twice. She did once right there at the end [to go up, 6-5, in the tiebreaker]. I don’t know if [that shot] was because I said that, or it was just her natural instinct. But it was a great instinct on her part and it worked out for us.”
With the win, CdM (15-1, 6-0 in league), ranked No, 4 in CIF Southern Section Division I, will almost certainly earn a top-four seed in the upcoming CIF playoffs.
CdM swept nine doubles sets and sophomore Katelyn Nguyen, playing No. 1 singles, rallied from a 4-1 deficit to earn a 6-4 win over Hayley Thompson to give the visitors their lone singles win in the third round. Katelyn Nguyen’s victory allowed Matsuoka and Elizabeth Nguyen, who subbed in for freshman Alison Ishii after the first round, to finish off the match.
Kelli Feeley and Azadeh Noremi swept, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4), 6-0, at No. 1 doubles for the Sea Kings, for whom Hailey Hogan and Kalika Slevcove swept, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4, at No. 2 doubles.