Cortez: Several teams streaking into record books

local@modbee.comOctober 9, 2013 

There's nothing quite like a good, long winning streak to capture the imagination of sports fans.

The success or failure of all teams, after all, is measured by the number of wins and the number of losses.

It's a simple equation.

Here in the Stanislaus District — a region comprised of 51 schools that stretches from Sutter Creek in the north to Le Grand in the south — a handful of impressive winning streaks are currently alive.

The longest active streak in the district lives in Salida, where Modesto Christian's boys basketball team has won 116 consecutive league games, just nine away from the state record.

Last season, in fact, Modesto Christian's girls team reached 99 consecutive league wins — a victory that would've made MC the only program in history with a pair of active 100-game winning streaks — before being upset by Ripon.

But basketball is a winter sport. There are teams playing right now that are putting their streaks on the line each week.

The Central Catholic girls golf teams has won 103 consecutive dual matches, dating back to 2007. And as the team got closer to 100, Raiders coach Dave Quintal didn't back down.

"When we got close to 100, we started talking about it," said Quintal. "We kind of just threw it out there a little bit."

Five players — Emily Raspo, Dannielle Heath, Tori Abbate, Lexi Abbate and Courtney Kim — are trying to join Katherine Dunn (Class of '13) and Joanna Nguyen (Class of '12) as golfers who never lost a league match in four years on the varsity.

In 2006, Central Catholic won its first 13 matches before losing its last dual of the season. In 2005, the Raiders also went undefeated. If not for that hiccup in 2006, the streak would be approaching 140. In fact, since the Raiders first fielded a girls golf team in 1998, they are 180-12 in league — and that's after going a mediocre 7-6 the first year.

Staying in the Western Athletic Conference, Los Banos High's girls tennis team is at 43 consecutive league victories, and counting. The Tigers whip most opponents 9-0 — taking six singles and three doubles matches. In fact, during the run, they've only lost 12 of 413 matches, a winning percentage of .970.

Los Banos coach Lynn Barcellos knows a thing or two about streaks, too. The 1984 Manteca High graduate, who had to sit out her junior year under the old rules after transferring from Grace Davis, went 144-0 with three Sac-Joaquin Section titles during her high school career.

"No, not at all," Barcellos said when asked if her players feel the pressure of the streak. "I have a group that has been with me since the streak started and they want to finish out the streak this year."

Those players embracing the pressure are Nicole Marchese, Jacquelin Arretche, Elena Erreca, Monique Arretche and Bianca Soares.

In football, Ripon High has won 20 consecutive regular-season games dating back to 2011. The Indians will put that streak on the line Friday when they travel to take on Hughson. The most serious threat to the streak probably comes Oct. 18, when Ripon travels to take on undefeated Hilmar in what likely will decide the Trans-Valley League title.

But don't bet against the Indians. They're on a serious roll.

Another current streak in the TVL belongs to Escalon High. It's not a winning streak, but it's noteworthy. The Cougars have gone 198 games without being shut out. That's the ninth longest streak in the history of California football. Escalon is 3-3 this season, and in two of those losses it was held to just a field goal. So, thanks to kicker Thomas Diniz, that streak continues.

By now, you're probably wondering how these streaks stack up to some of the best in this history of the Stanislaus District. Here's my top five winning streaks of all-time:

• Johansen girls water polo — The Vikings, under Hall of Fame coach Brent Bohlender, won 128 consecutive games — league, nonleague, tournaments — from 1996-1999.

• Central Catholic football — The Raiders won 61 consecutive games from 2001-2005, winning five straight section titles in the process.

• Hilmar football — The Yellowjackets won 46 straight games from 1986-90, falling one short of what then was the state record, held by Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa), whose record would be obliterated by De La Salle (151 in a row).

• Merced High basketball — From 1983 to 1988, the Bears won 78 consecutive games in Central California Conference play. The 1988 team saw the streak end against Deshon Brown's Modesto High team, but regrouped to win a third straight section title. Full disclosure: My kid brother played on that Merced squad.

• Ripon Christian girls basketball — The Knights won 49 straight games from 1988-89, including the 1988 state Division 5 championship game over Avenal.

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