BY STEPHEN LYNCH Special to The Californian
With so many new players on her squad, Liberty girls tennis coach Stephanie Ollivier wasn't sure what to expect for the Patriots' first match of the season Thursday against Bakersfield Christian.
As it turned out the newcomers showed well in their debut, combining with Liberty's few remaining stalwarts to blow out the perennially tough Eagles 11-1 in a non-league match at BCHS.
"Some of these girls, I've never seen them play a match so I'm seeing what I got out here today," Ollivier said. "...I learned that we've got a lot of potential. We've got a lot of good athletes out there. A lot to work with. So I'm excited."
Patriots' returning No. 1 player Isabella Busacca combined with her sister Sophia Busacca plus Paige Basconcillo and Kelsey Owens to give Liberty six wins as each won in singles and doubles.
BCHS, winner of eight straight Central Section championships (the past two coming in Division IV after six in D-V), got its only victory in doubles as Brittany Aguilar and Krysten Kaing beat defeat Jayne Morris and Brianna Bush 6-4, 7-6, (9-7).
Isabella Busacca said she started feeling ill halfway through her match against Tara Miller but still managed to win 6-0, 6-1.
The Liberty junior, feeling the effects of the August heat, drank a bunch of liquids prior to joining forces with her sister to beat Miller and Liza Onead 6-2, 6-0 and seal the team win.
Last year the Patriots beat BCHS 8-4 when the two teams met early in the season.
BCHS, which lost 6-3 to Tehachapi on Tuesday, has just three players back from its 20-7 team of last year.
"Looking at this match today we just have a long way to go," longtime BCHS coach Frank Thiessen said. "There are some bright spots and we will be there when league comes along and when the valley playoffs begin."
Despite her lopsided singles win, Isabella Busacca wasn't happy with the way she played against Miller.
"I felt as though I was dehydrated and just overheated from the court," Busacca said.
"And so I wasn't playing too well and it really showed up in my game as I had really lazy feet. Then I wasn't hitting the ball very hard and then with my natural stroke. I was just kind of not thinking about my game as much as I should have."