What started as just another ordinary match day for the Live Oak girls tennis team, ended as a special victory when the Lions swept Gridley 9-0 on senior day. 

“It’s been truly special to coach all of these players,” head coach Larry Dolan said. “Being able to watch them progress as both tennis players and people is something I will always cherish. We’re truly a family,” he added. 

Before Thursday’s match, Dolan announced his lineup one last time, adding a short commentary with each

player. 

Once things got under way, the Lions showed why they’ve been so dominant all season long. 

In singles the Lions’ winners were Lizzy Allan (6-3, 6-1), Jessie Patrick (6-0, 6-0), Erica Valadez (6-0, 6-0), Roxy Lopez (6-4, 6-2), Nataly Ayala (6-2, 6-2), and Erika Angel (6-0, 6-2). 

In doubles, the following pairings won their matches: Allan and Valadez (9-7), Patrick and Ayala (8-3), and lastly, Lopez and Angel (8-2). 

The Lions will now wait and see where they will be seeded heading into the section playoffs on Tuesday. 

With today’s contest being  a few players’ last regular season home match, it gave the players some time to reflect on their stints at Live Oak. 

“I think what I’ve enjoyed the most about playing on this team is how close we all are with each other, we’re honestly a family,” Angel said. “Whether it’s matches, practice or listening to Taylor Swift in the van, I will miss it all,” she added. 

Other players noted that while they may not have started with a huge interest in tennis, coach Dolan helped give a gift they’ll forever be grateful for: Believing in their own ability. 

“He has this tendency to get the best out of you without you even really noticing right away,” Ayala said. “I think tennis will really help me in life because it’s taught me to never give up in working towards a goal,” the Live Oak senior added. 

 Come June of 2020, Dolan plans to retire and turn over the reign to a different head coach for Live Oak tennis. 

Though he’s far from ready to think about that right now. Playoffs are on his mind. 

“We’ll get back to work and start preparing for the playoffs on Tuesday, this group is special and I think they can take it as far as they want,” Dolan said.

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