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Valencia’s own Wolfpack

Posted: September 23, 2013 10:47 p.m.
Updated: September 23, 2013 10:47 p.m.

Valencia's doubles pairing of sisters Lindsey Wolf, left, and Lauren Wolf is part of a lineup that could go a long way in deciding the Foothill League title.

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Tennis doubles partners are generally pretty close — the idea being that off-the-court chemistry leads to on-the-court success.

But what about when those partners aren’t just close, but are siblings, too?

That’s the case for Valencia High’s Lindsey and Lauren Wolf — sisters who never thought they’d be teaming up in what likely will be a pivotal role for the Vikings during the 2013 season.

“That’s like 90 percent of it,” Lindsey says. “If you’re not close it’s so much harder to stay focused under pressure because both people will always make mistakes, but if you have good chemistry on the court you’ll be able to stay with it in those tough matches.”

With Hart widely regarded as having the top singles lineup in the league, Valencia will likely need to win on the doubles side to win an 11th league title in 12 years.

So far so good, as the sisters are 23-3 on the season with Foothill League opening up today against Saugus and the Wolf sisters expected to start at the No. 1 doubles position.

“For the most part they’re doing a great job,” says Valencia head coach Annie Kellogg. “They’re both trying to play doubles the way it’s supposed to be played and getting to the net.”

Oddly enough, the girls weren’t sure teaming up was such a good idea when their parents, Dean and Jackie, suggested it last year.

“We’ve never been serious about playing doubles together because we were never able to play as a team,” Lindsey says. “But we worked it out and we know each of our boundaries on the court and basically on the court we’re more of friends and doubles partners.”

The transition wasn’t immediate, though, with growing pains along the way keeping the sisters from being too enthusiastic about the prospect of teaming up.

“For a long time both of us weren’t quite 100 percent sure it was ever going to work,” Lindsey says. “Probably until midsummer we said, ‘OK, this is what we’re going to do.’ We were always a little hesitant about it. We always practice together and had it in mind, but I don’t think we were ever sold on it.”

For two sisters who have always been on the competitive side, they finally figured out how to come together and work as a team.

“When (my parents) mentioned it, I was totally on board,” sophomore Lauren says. “But when we started fighting it got kind of rough. Then we figured it out and it was perfect.”

Finally convinced, the duo took the idea to Kellogg, who lost half of all three doubles teams due to graduation and was searching for the right fit for 2013.

“I thought it would be a good team and this is Lindsey’s last year,” Kellogg says. “It would be the only year she could play with her sister. I said ‘sure’ and I know they are both very focused and work hard at their tennis. So it’s great and they’re doing great together.”

The two have always been active, moving to the Santa Clarita Valley from Mammoth when Lindsey was 8 and Lauren 6. The duo participated in golf, swim, gymnastics, dance and ultimately settled on tennis after taking a summer camp at The Paseo Club four years later.

“Swim was pretty quick, neither of us liked that much,” Lindsey says. “Golf we stuck with for a while. Both my parents played golf and my dad used to be a golf instructor so they both wanted us to learn to how to play golf. My dad was really excited, but it was too slow for us.”

What hasn’t been slow is their ascension on the tennis court.

For two sisters who struggled to play together just a few months ago, they now play with the communication and poise of partners who have spent years together.

“They strive to do the best they possibly can at whatever they do and that’s always been since they were little kid,” Dean says.

And their partnership hasn’t just improved their tennis games; it’s also improved their relationship.

“It’s something they’re going to have no matter what path their life goes,” Jackie says. “They can come back to each other and pick up tennis and spend a couple enjoyable hours together.”

Lauren says her older sister is her best friend, and having tennis be a part of that is something she’ll cherish forever.

“Trying to figure out our groove on the court, it has made us a little stronger with our relationship,” Lauren says. “I’m really happy about it. There’s less fighting and we get along much better.”

But looking back on this season can come later.

For now, Valencia opens up its Foothill League campaign today against Saugus, and they’ll rely on the newfound team the Wolf sisters have become.

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