View Mobile Site
 

Ask the Expert

Signal Photos

 

2013 Foothill League girls tennis preview

Top teams in league will be tough to unseat

Posted: September 23, 2013 10:49 p.m.
Updated: September 23, 2013 10:49 p.m.

Canyon sophomore Katrina DeGuzman will challenge some of the Foothill League's best singles players this season.

View More »
 

There’s an interesting dynamic in the Foothill League this season.

It doesn’t seem to matter what the lineup normally looks like, because when you face Hart, there’s little chance of going head-to-head in singles play.

As a result, the 2013 Foothill League season is most likely going to come down to whether the Indians doubles teams can compete with teams stacking the doubles side in hopes of beating them.

It’s a strategy not all teams will employ, but one that won’t be very surprising given that the Indians, on paper, feature the most talent in singles.

Valencia and West Ranch have the lineups to win on any given day, and there once again looks to be a distinct separation between the top three and bottom three.

How will it all shake out? Let’s take a look at the six Foothill League teams and what each will feature in 2013.

Hart

At first glance, Hart barely even needs its doubles teams to get off the bus.

That’s no disrespect to Hart’s doubles teams, but more of an indication of just how good the 2013 Indians are in singles play.

The league’s top regular season player of 2012, Natalia Munoz, returns as a sophomore and the Indians’ No. 1, along with junior Proyfon Lohaphaisan and senior Jackie Resler.

Munoz went undefeated in regular season Foothill League play in 2012 and advanced to the final match at Foothill League finals, while both Lohaphaisan and Resler have shown stretches of dominance in their time at Hart, as well.

Fortunately for Hart, their doubles teams aren’t too shabby, either. And, ironically, it could be the doubles teams that determine Hart’s placement in league this season with so many other teams expected to stack the doubles side when they face the Indians.

“Definitely. I can see that and it’s a smart move, I would do the same,” Mansfield said.

Seniors Bailey Sindle and Lauren Dam lead the way as Hart’s No. 1 doubles team, and combined with the three singles players, will make it very hard to stop the Indians in 2013.

On paper, Hart looks poised to repeat as Foothill League champions. But as the saying goes, that’s why they play the game.

Valencia

The Vikings may not have had the flash of Hart last season, but they had a solid team that kept itself at the top of the league.

Valencia pulled out a win over Hart late in the 2012 season to earn a share of the Foothill League title (its 10th in 11 years), and will need to win in a similar fashion this year in order to repeat.

Gone are No. 1 singles player Brigitta Benitez and doubles players Ashley Keith, Jenny Ralston and Alekhya Bommireddipalli.

Fortunately, Tina Inchalik, who along with Keith, was the Signal’s All-Santa Clarita Valley doubles team of the year in 2012, returns for the Vikings.

But don’t expect to see her in a familiar place.

Inchalik has moved over to the singles side and will replace Benitez as the No. 1 player.

“She’s a great athlete and has the ability to hang with a lot of different players. She’s always been very calm, cool and collected in competition,” said Valencia head coach Annie Kellogg. “She’s got a nice demeanor.”

Katelyn Choi and Remy Balmain will follow Inchalik in the singles lineup.

Lindsey Wolf and her sister Lauren lead the doubles attack for the Vikings. They’ll be followed by the teams of Mikaela Jamieson and Gianna Benitez, and Amanda Braun and Kate Zeile.

West Ranch

The Wildcats have talent entering the 2013 Foothill League season, but more importantly, they have flexibility.

West Ranch returns junior Julia Lynch in singles, along with Hannah Yooster and doubles players Sydney Schwartz and MacKenzie Lyle off a 2012 team that finished in third place in league.

Add to the mix impact freshman Quintera Walter-Eze, who has the ability to play either singles or doubles, and senior Breanna Almaraz, who head coach Eric Spiecker said has made great strides over the offseason to lock down a starting doubles spot. That should make the Wildcats a force to reckon with this season.

Spiecker said he has multiple lineups he feels can win a match, and a group of three girls who can win a set from either singles or doubles.

“We have a variety of different lineups we can work with and it’s going to make it fun to coach and throw a couple different things at a couple different teams,” Spiecker said.

It’s no secret to the Wildcats that competing with Hart and Valencia will be tough, but Spiecker still thinks the team can improve on its 2012 performance.

“A couple goals, I’d like to send some finalists in the Fall Brawl. I’d like to have some finalists in the preliminary tournament and I’d like to claim one of those top two spots for playoffs in league,” Spiecker said.

Saugus

The Saugus Centurions are in a transition stage with first-year head coach Ken Jeffris, who moved up to varsity after coaching JV for seven seasons.

The Centurions are without their top player from 2012, Jessica Moore, who graduated in May. But the 2013 Saugus squad features plenty of young, but talented players.

“We’re improving every minute and we’re looking forward to seeing where we stand in league,” Jeffris said.

Sophomore Carly Ozaki, who played on varsity as a freshman, enters as the team’s No. 1 singles player, while freshman Megan Cho takes over at No. 2.

“It may give us an advantage down the road,” said Jeffris of his team’s youth. “Two years down the road they’re going to be hopefully elite players in our league.”

In doubles, the Centurions will turn to Caren Rosen and Rachel Callas to helm the No. 1 doubles spot, with junior Maddi Goeres and sophomore Kenzie Hovey expected to play significant roles as well.

Golden Valley

There are no simple answers when you lose the best tennis player to ever come through your school, but that’s the question Golden Valley has to answer this season after the departure of two-time Signal All-Santa Clarita Valley Player of the Year Rebecca Ho.

Fortunately, the Grizzlies do have the benefit of experience — with head coach Josh Stimac saying every significant contributor so far has varsity experience.

“It’s always nice to have the same girls out there and you can hopefully pick up from last year as far as coaching,” Stimac said.

Charged with moving up to the top of the singles line up is Claire Lee, with Beau Lauron at No. 2.

In doubles, which is where Stimac thinks his team can make an impact, teams of Emily Cuadros and Siynna Andreeza, Shannon Kim and Amalie Chang lead the way.

“We’re trying to re-gear and re-tool the team, and we’re working with younger players and beefing up our doubles still,” Stimac said. “Doubles is always the solution in Foothill League tennis.”

Canyon

The Cowboys might just feature the best singles player not at Hart in sophomore Katrina DeGuzman.

DeGuzman put herself on the map last season, winning the consolation bracket during the Fall Brawl in 2012

“She’s definitely improved from last year,” said first-year head coach Dennis Yong. “A lot more consistent, hitting the ball harder, her serve has gotten more persistent and powerful.”

The Cowboys will get some reinforcements in freshman doubles player Adrien Kashaa and senior Kezia Suherman. Jennifer Brissenden will fit in at No. 2 singles behind DeGuzman.

“We’re dedicated and willing to work hard. This is a team that’s really dedicated this year. We’re training a lot harder than last year and they’re willing to work together.”

Comments

Commenting not available.
Commenting is not available.

 
 

Powered By
Morris Technology
Please wait ...