In a battle for Santa Maria Valley bragging rights, the St. Joseph Knights put on a show during Tuesday’s PAC 8 League girls tennis match against the Pioneer Valley Panthers.

The Knights swept the Panthers 18-0 on the St. Joseph High courts to improve to 3-6 on the PAC 8 League season.

“It was a good day for us,” said the Knights’ No. 2 singles player Kaitlyn Haskell, who swept her sets 6-3, 6-1, 6-0. “It was a great team effort.”

On a sunny, breezy and cool afternoon, the weather didn’t affect the competition.

“The weather didn’t bother us. We’re used to playing in chilly, breezy conditions,” said the Knights’ No. 1 singles player Shianne Gooley, who rolled to 6-0, 6-0, 6-1 wins. “It was a long afternoon but I think I played well. I feel like this will help us in our next matches.”

St. Joseph's Julia Galloway won 6-0, 6-1, 6-1 at No. 3 singles.

“It was good improvement for us from the last time we played them,” said St. Joseph head coach Ray Cavazos. “Winning all six sets in the first round really set the tone for us today. Shianne was a bright spot for us but really all the girls had a great day.”

Although St. Joseph dominated, the Knights only had five 6-0 sets.

“I think we’re improving. My goal this season was for the girls to get better every match and they’re doing that,” said Pioneer Valley head coach Rick Faulk. “Last season there were a lot more 0-6 sets and it’s not that way anymore.”

The Panthers had just one 0-6 loss in doubles when St. Joseph’s No. 2 team of Kate Adams and Gowri Sunitha topped the Panthers’ No. 3 duo, Clarielisa Ocampo and Elizabeth Caballero.

Sisters Emilia and Eva Datuin, at No. 1 doubles, and the twosome of Gina Rigali and Janelle Brickey, at No. 3, rounded out the Knights winners.

“Our No. 3 doubles team, Clarielisa and Elizabeth, won more games today than they have all season,” said Faulk. “They’re both athletes. It’s their first season playing and they work well together. It’s also the first season our No. 1 singles player, Czarlyn Camba, has played singles and she did well against some very tough competition.”

“I tried my hardest,” said Camba. “I think I did pretty well. I got in some really good shots today.”

Rounding out the Panthers were No. 2 and 3 singles, Erica Arrendondo and Samantha Rivera, and No. 1 and 2 doubles Jazael Gracellano and Arianna Scanelli and Ashley Barbosa and Gizelle Melero.

“It’s Samantha’s first season of tennis. She’s a gamer and she’s trying really hard,” said Faulk.

Despite trailing 12-0 heading into the third and final round, the Panthers continued to battle.

The best example — Ocampo and Caballero were trailing the Datuin sisters 5-1 in the third round.

They kept the pressure up, eventually battling back to 5-4 before the Datuins closed out the set 6-4.

Despite coming out on the wrong end of the scores, the Panthers kept the pressure on the entire afternoon.

“Teams like Arroyo Grande and San Luis Obispo, they play one way — they always keep the pressure on and they play to win every point, every set, every match,” said Faulk. “That’s why they’re successful and that’s how we’re trying to teach our girls how to play.”

Pioneer Valley (0-9 PAC 8) hosts Paso Robles and St. Joseph heads to league leader Arroyo Grande on Thursday as the PAC 8 League season continues.

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Senior Sports Reporter