Photo by Gerardo Bolong
Rushlenne Pascual won her No. 1 singles match for Foster against visiting Highline with backhands like this.

Foster tennis defeats Highline

TUKWILA - Continuing to exhibit its strength in a highly successful tennis season, the Foster High School girls team defeated visiting Highline 6-1 on Wednesday, April 24, while also initiating its preparations for the upcoming post season.

The Bulldogs stood at a 10-2 sole possession of second place in the Seamount League behind unbeaten league leader Hazen (13-0) as the regular season neared its finish. Foster's only losses were highly competitive team matches against the Highlanders from Renton. The hard trying Pirates' record moved to 6-7.

"Today was a perfect one to transition to post season," said Bulldog coach Sopheak Ngeth about his revised line up. "Esmeralda (Bailon) has been getting better every day. Our two singles players have the shots. They just need to put it together and there are enough matches left for them to do so. Rushlenne has a chance to try for the third spot into district. This was a good year with a lot of returning student athletes. There are seven seniors and three juniors. They've been with me for awhile. It's a large group that is collectively working on a common goal. They were excited to out there. I'm proud of them. this is the first group that reflected my philosophies."

Doubles action grabbed the spotlight immediately as Hoa Hong and Charanpreet Sampra whisked away the No. 3 spot from Highline's Amanda Anderson and Julie Hoang, 6-0, 6-0.

Hot on the heels of the Hong and Sampra win, Bulldogs Yen Le and Esmeralda Bailon stroked by Trinh Tran and Jacqueline Kemp, 6-1, 6-2, at No. 2 doubles for a 2-0 Bulldog match advantage.

"We're working on serving and return of serve," said sophomore Le. "We're also getting better at working together."

Bailon added to the conversation.

"Getting more consistent on our sets is helping," she said.

Rushlenne Pascual put Foster on the edge of victory in the total team competition with a 7-5, 6-4, No. 1 singles triumph against Nhi Lam.

Playing her first match at No.1 singles after a solid season at a No. 3, Pascual trailed 4-3 in the second set before breaking serve en route to the win.

"I stayed focused on everything in the game," she noted.

Top singles players Eunica Serafica and Moa Arquiza united for the first time this season in a 6-4, 7-6(7-5) two set win against Stephanie Anderson and Angelica Yu at No. 1 doubles to assure the Bulldogs of the team win..

Adjustments from singles play were definitely in order for duo.

"It was our first match together," said Arquiza. "We need to get the instinct of non verbal communication in knowing where each of us will be."

Serafica agreed completely.

"It's adjusting and trusting your partner," she said.

Angelie Teng, in her first singles match, of Foster followed with a 6-4, 2-6, 10-5, three-set triumph in a No. 2 struggle against Highline junior Disney Vong ahead of Bulldog Andrea O'Neil's 6-1, 6-3, No. 4 singles verdict over Cindy Nguyen.

In the concluding match, resilient Andrea Mandt notched a Highline win in a 3-6, 7-6(7-5), 6-1, battle against Leslie Tapealava in No. 3 singles.

Highline coach Scott Babcock had positive thoughts about his team's season, as well.

"They're nice girls that get good grades and do everything you ask them at practice and at matches," he said. "It was just tough for them to play against experienced and highly athletic competitors. Disney Vong has improved a lot and has potential."

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