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Team of Danya Belkin-Lucy Golden Pull Out Last Set to Lift Dos Pueblos Over San Marcos, 10-8

Yuka Perera of San Marcos prepares to hit a forehand in her No. 1 singles match against Mikala Triplett of Dos Pueblos. Click to view larger
Yuka Perera of San Marcos prepares to hit a forehand in her No. 1 singles match against Mikala Triplett of Dos Pueblos.  (Barry Punzal / Noozhawk photo)

A clutch performance by the sophomore duo of Danya Belkin and Lucy Golden lifted the Dos Pueblos girls tennis team to a down-to-the-wire 10-8 win over crosstown rival San Marcos in a Channel League match on Tuesday.

With everyone watching the final match of the day, Belkin and Golden rallied from a 3-5 deficit and pulled out a 7-5 victory over Maura Mannix and Savana Mata of San Marcos to clinch the team win for the Royals. 

“We knew it was going to be pretty darn close and we didn’t want it to be that darn close,” said San Marcos coach Andrea Rifkin.

The Chargers needed their No. 2 doubles team to win because a San Marcos victory would have left the teams tied at 9-9 in sets and the Royals would have prevailed because they had the advantage in total games won.

Coming from behind was nothing knew for Golden and Belkin.

Mikala Triplett returns a shot against Yuka Perera during their singles showdown on Tuesday. Perera won the set 6-2. Click to view larger
Mikala Triplett returns a shot against Yuka Perera during their singles showdown on Tuesday. Perera won the set 6-2. (Barry Punzal / Noozhawk photo)

“It was just staying relaxed,” said Golden of her mindset. “If I get too tense, I just start not believing in myself  and then I’m missing everything.”

Said Belkin, when they tied the score at 5-5:  “I felt at that point it’s more of a mental game not as much of a field game. If we were mentally prepared for it and encouraged and motivated, then I thought that we could pull through.”

Golden admitted she was getting tired, “but I kept doing a little dance thing and it just got me going again.” She also said the cheers from her teammates got her motivated.

Belkin-Golden were big for the Chargers, winning two of their three sets (6-2, 7-5). Their lone loss came against San Marcos’ No. 1 team of Kelly Coulson and Sam DeAlba, 6-1.

“Last year was their first year together,” DP coach Liz Frech said. “We just threw them together as freshies and they made great strides in such a short time. They continued with their path.”

She complimented the duo on their game in the deciding set.

“I like the idea that you mixed up your shots and that made a difference,” she said. “And you put in the second serve, which was a lot softer than you do in practice, that kind of drop shot short serve. It sort of threw them off and set Danya up for the kill. I was really impressed.”

In singles, Yuka Perera of San Marcos won the No. 1 showdown with DP’s Mikala Triplett, 6-2, and took her next two sets, 6-0, 6-0.

“Yuka is always strong and consistent,” Rifkin said. “She was really looking forward to the challenge (of playing Triplett) and she didn’t back off at all.”

Triplett rebounded with 6-0 and 6-0 wins. 

Hanna Kleidermacher and Alessa Somer each won two sets for the Chargers, who improve to 2-0 in league and 5-1 overall.

For San Marcos, Coulson and DeAlba went undefeated on the day (6-1, 6-0, 6-2). Mannix and Mata won two sets.

Rifkin credited Dos Pueblos’ depth as a key to its win.

“The depth on their team all together, but especially in singles,” she said. 

It was the first loss of the season for the Royals, who are 0-1 in league and 4-1 overall.

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