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The Heat is on

Johnson Ranch to play for team tennis state title
By: Bill Poindexter
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Northern California tennis teams haven’t been able to take the Heat this summer. The Johnson Ranch Racquet Club Heat of Roseville, comprised of girls 13 to 15 years old, dominated on its way to a USTA Northern California team tennis championship and will play for a state title in the 28th annual Gar Glenney Cup today and Sunday in Newport Beach. Johnson Ranch coach Jim Yoakum didn’t know who the opponent would be, saying, “Obviously, somebody pretty darn good.” The Heat has been pretty darn good, too. Johnson Ranch went 7-0 to win the Sacramento-area conference and was the No. 1 seed among eight leagues for the USTA Junior Team Tennis NorCal Championship held Aug. 6-8 in Clovis. The Heat earned a bye, then defeated Modesto 7-2 and Los Gatos 7-2 for the title. Trailing Los Gatos 2-1, Johnson Ranch won all six singles matches. “That is very unusual, especially against a quality team like Los Gatos,” Yoakum said. Yoakum said two of the most important matches were won by Bianca Luna and Shelby Kubota. Both are developing players. Kubota has played fewer than two years. “To have progressed to this level is really extraordinary,” Yoakum said. “With Bianca, she’s just a wonderful athlete but had never really started to hone her skills as a tennis player. But in the last six months, she has just really come alive.” Abby Bacharach was ill when Johnson Ranch played Modesto, and Yoakum said the Heat was “toast” without her against Los Gatos. Twins Chloe and Lily Forlini won their doubles match at love, then each won in singles. Rounding out the team are Madysen Washburn and Megan Sullivan. Can the Heat bring home a state title? Yoakum is confident the team can. “There are so many absolutely amazing kids down there,” Yoakum said. “We have some pretty tough kids, and they’ve done some remarkable things so far, so I’m not going to rule out the possibility of winning the whole thing.” Bill Poindexter can be reached at billp@goldcountrymedia.com.