Region VI success leads to National Tournament

Both the men’s and women’s tennis teams have earned bids to the NJCAA National Tournament after getting favorable results in the Region VI tournament. For the first time in its pro- gram, the Saints won the Region VI tournament while the Lady Saints finished as runners-up.

Assistant coach Nadine Mein said, “Regionals was definitely a positive tournament for us. Our men’s team did exceptional and our ladies team did fantastic. We did have a couple of struggling matches but we were able to come out on top.”
The Saints went into the tournament after setting a record for most wins in a single season in Saints tennis history at 9-3 and ended up riding that momentum to win seven of nine championships. In the other two titles, the Saints finishes as runners-up.

Darin Workman, head tennis coach, said, “The guys played extremely well. They didn’t just win, we almost swept regionals which is very unheard of.”

Ronzai Saurombe, Alvaro Rengifo, Felipe Casares, Tare Mariga, and Paul Arslanian all won their singles titles respectively while Vitor Galvao finished as runner-up.

In doubles, the pairs of Saurombe and Galvao along with Mariga and Arslanian also claimed their championships
while Rengifo and Casares ended the day as runners-up.

“We probably could have won all nine,” Workman said. “They showed a lot of heart. The num- ber one team in our region actually beat us pretty bad a couple of weeks ago, and (the guys) were pretty mad about it but they didn’t let it get them down. They ended up turning the table and beating them. We beat them worse than they beat us the first time.”

The Lady Saints also claimed their spot at Nationals for the second straight year after Paula Lopez and Paula Coyos each won their singles brackets.

Kellyn Peters finished as runner-up while Naomie Bukassa and Xochitl Gonzalez picked up third place in their respective brackets. Grace Golden then placed fourth place in the No. 6 singles bracket.

In doubles, Lopez and Coyos won again earning the top spot in No. 1 doubles. Peters and Gonzalez picked up third in No. 2 doubles, and Bukassa and Golden finished as runners-up in No. 3 doubles.

“(For the girls), one of the strengths would be that nobody quit in their matches. Everybody fought hard and they played like a team. Everybody pretty much supported everyone else,” Workman said.

The Lady Saints traveled first to Tucson, Ariz., May 4-8 for nationals. After play on May 5, the
Lady Saints stand at No. 9, with Paula Coyos and Paula Lopez in the semifinals for both singles and doubles.

The Saints will travel to Plano, Texas, on May 11-14.

Mein, assistant tennis coach, said, “We will be doing a lot of conditioning. A lot of footwork is what we generally do. Also, we will do some strengthening in the wellness center. Other than that, we will just try to keep their cardio up until nationals.”

Workman also said that keeping everybody healthy is one of the main things. He also said the players are working on getting their classes straightened out since they will be missing a lot of
class time right before or even during finals.

“Right now our minds are in a really good place so we just have to keep the focus going,” said Workman. “I am really looking forward to, besides playing and doing the competition, having a lot of fun while we are there. This is a bunch of girls that I actually like and it’s a bunch of guys that I actually like. So it will be kind of a little vacation for Coach (Mein) and I.

Hopefully we are going to win us the final matches. For the guys, our goal is to get in the top three. For the girls, the goal is to get our top girls a national title.”

Crusader photo/Xochitl Gonzalez Kellyn Peters returns a ball in the NJCAA Region VI tournament. Peters finished as runner-up in singles and third in No. 2 doubles.
Crusader photo/Xochitl Gonzalez
Kellyn Peters returns a ball in the NJCAA Region VI tournament. Peters finished as runner-up in singles and third in No. 2 doubles.