Posted By Press Democrat Staff Writer Michael Coit:
Bolstered by talented additions from Sonoma County prep ranks, the Santa Rosa Junior College tennis teams open NorCal playoff action Tuesday.
Santa Rosa’s men are seeded four and host Modesto, having defeated the same squad in the season’s opening match. The women were the final entrant selected for the eight team playoffs and travel to play De Anza, in Cupertino. The Nor Cal team finals are May 4 in Fresno with the state championship contested a week later, again in Fresno.
Many of Santa Rosa’s players also qualified for the Nor Cal singles and doubles tournaments held May 5-7 in Fresno. The state finals are May 13-14, in Fresno.
Leading the Santa Rosa men is top singles player Michael Kuhlman, from Cardinal Newman, who won the North Bay League title last season. On the women’s side, the Bear Cubs leading singles player is Monica Borowicz, a three time NBL singles champion at Montgomery.
“We’ve got a crop of pretty good tennis players,” said Santa Rosa Junior College tennis coach Jay Samonte. “I definitely prefer local players. That’s always my desire.”
This season’s Santa Rosa tennis teams are particularly deep in players who developed their games on Sonoma County courts.
For the men, number three singles player David Hutton is from Montgomery, where he was an All-Empire selection. Hutton returned to the county after first attending UC Santa Cruz out of high school. Cody Otero, from Analy, is on the Bear Cubs’ third doubles team. Both qualified for the Nor Cal tournaments.
Also qualifying on the men’s side are: Michael Fischer, number two singles; Donny Felich, number four singles; Kuhlman-Fischer, first doubles; Hutton-Felich, second doubles; Otero-Kevin Mehrabian, third doubles.
The men’s team finished second in the Big 8 Conference north. Kuhlman won the league singles title and teamed with Fischer for the doubles crown.
The women were third in the conference with Borowicz taking the individual championship. Reaching the semifinals in the conference singles tournament was Gienna Gonnella , an All-Empire player last season at Ursuline.
Joining both Borowicz and Gonnella in the Nor Cal singles tournament is Anna Hoang. A 1998 graduate of Piner, Hoang took up the game later and Samonte convinced her to join the team after working with her in an SRJC tennis class.
Santa Rosa’s women also qualified two doubles teams for the Nor Cal tournament: Borowicz-Gonnella; Hoang-Jessica Coleman.