The Pierce College tennis team maintained its grip on first place in the Western State Conference with an 8-1 victory Thursday at Santa Monica.
Pierce (13-2, 12-0 in conference) swept the singles matches, with Dave Valastro winning by forfeit over Howard Appleford, 7-5, 5-1 retired, in the number-one match. Alex Alaya trounced Alan Winkler, 6-0, 6-0, and Dereck Messana beat former Santa Monica High teammate Pat Moore, 7-6, 3-6, 7-5.
Santa Monica posted its only win as Appleford and Winkler beat Mike Rosenthal and Valastro, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, in the No. 1 doubles match.
Pierce Coach Paul Xanthos said Thursday's victory put the Brahmas in good position to win the conference championship. Pierce holds a one-game lead over Bakersfield with only a match against the Renegades remaining.
Pierce received good and bad news before the match against Santa Monica.
The bad news was that a seasonlong back injury forced sophomore Nelson Gray to withdraw from school in effort to save a year of eligibility. Gray, the second-ranked player in the state had played in only two matches this season.
The good news is that he still might be eligible to play next season.
Norma Bardarkian and Chrystel Polee led Pierce to a 9-0 win over Santa Monica.
Bardarkian defeated Michelle Stultz, 4-6, 6-1, 7-5, and Polee defeated Suzanne Sarga, 6-2, 6-0, in the top two singles matches as Pierce improved to 7-3 in the Western State Conference. Bardarkian and Stephanie Guss also won the No. 1 doubles match, defeating Stultz and Sarga, 6-4, 6-1.
Dan Russell threw a 6-hitter and drove in two runs to lead Moorpark to a 5-1 Western State Conference win at Moorpark. Angel Boroso went 2 for 4 with 1 RBI and Shawn Thompson added 2 RBIs for Moorpark (10-9, 5-3). Glendale dropped to 2-7 in conference play.