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Granite Bay topples St. Francis in Division I tennis semifinal

Sacramento-area giants have combined for 12 section banners over seven years
By: Bill Poindexter, Roseville Press Tribune Sports Editor
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The two giants of high school girls tennis in the Sacramento area met Tuesday afternoon, and this clash wasn’t built on promises, debates, slanted fact checkers, propaganda and a vote: It was decided on the courts behind Granite Bay High School.

And the Grizzlies have spoken.

Granite Bay, winner of five consecutive Sac-Joaquin Section Division II team tennis championships, scored a resounding 8-1 victory over St. Francis, winner of seven consecutive Division I banners — until this year.

With the Sierra Foothill League being bumped up to Division I this fall, the Grizzlies and Troubadours came together to decide who would meet Davis, a 6-3 winner over Oak Ridge, for the blue banner Wednesday.

With Nos. 2, 3, 5 and 6 singles victories logged for Lily Forlini, Kammy Kecki, Lauren Bonham and Kendyl Talley, Granite Bay took a 4-0 lead.

“I wasn’t anticipating this,” Granite Bay coach Rory Wood said as a rout built around him. “This is a very proud achievement.”

Wood instilled intensity and focus into his Grizzlies team to prepare for matches like Tuesday’s, and Wednesday’s. He encouraged “sweaty bodies and blisters on the feet.” Apply pressure, push, and be aggressive. Granite Bay pounded Davis and semifinalist Oak Ridge early this season, but as Wood pointed out, the Grizzlies obliterated Del Oro last season, only to squeak out a 5-4 victory in the Division II final.

“This is no time to be dreaming of other things. We need to practice because the heat’s coming. We need to prepare for the big ones,” Wood said, adding that his Grizzlies will take Wednesday’s final “point by point.”

The doubles teams of Ashlyn Howes and Marissa Hayes, and Annalise DeMarco and Brooke Williams padded Granite Bay’s lead with straight-set wins, and Kristen Hilburn and Hailey Lederer provided the exclamation point with a 5-7, 6-1, 11-9 victory.

In between, No. 1 singles player Chloe Forlini came back from a one-set deficit to beat Division I singles runner-up Jessica Josiah 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, exchanging long lob rallies and firing back at Josiah’s repeated blasts from the net.