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CIF tennis playoffs: Valencia girls advances thanks to their strength

Posted: November 6, 2013 10:25 p.m.
Updated: November 6, 2013 10:25 p.m.

Valencia's Sabrina Wueste swats at the ball at Valencia High during the first round of the CIF-SS Div. II playoffs.

 

The Valencia Vikings girls tennis team defeated a tough but overmatched Poly of Pasadena team  13-5 in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division II girls playoffs on Wednesday afternoon.

“This team reminded me a lot of us, just a bunch of really hard workers,” said Valencia head coach Annie Kellogg. “They didn’t necessarily have country-club level players hitting huge groundstrokes, but neither do we.”

Valencia (15-4) may not be stacked with elite-level talent, but the Vikings are perhaps the most resourceful unit in the Foothill League.

The team has tinkered with its lineup multiple times this season in an attempt to maximize the talent on the roster, and if Wednesday’s playoff-opening win demonstrated anything, it’s that Valencia’s talent is best maximized in doubles.

Valencia doubles captured eight of nine possible sets, with tandems Lindsey Wolf and Morgan Meunitz and Kate Zeile and Katelyn Choi sweeping 6-4, 6-0, 7-5 and 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 respectively.

“Now that the lineups have been set, we are doing a lot more doubles specific drills,” said Wolf, a senior. “We just need to stay consistent and continue being the aggressors.”
Valencia singles players found it considerably more difficult to assert themselves against the Panthers (11-3), who finished second in the Prep League behind a Westridge team that the Vikings defeated in the preseason.

Vikings No. 1 Tina Inchalik swept 6-4, 6-2, 6-1, but the rest of the singles lineup captured just two sets.

But the approach for Valencia all season has been to do whatever it takes to win, and if that means doubles carrying the load Kellogg is completely fine with that.

“You have to run with the horses you have, and I love the horses we have this season,” Kellogg said. “We fight every match, and we’ve been able to compete with quality opponents all season long.”

Given Wednesday’s results it’s likely the Vikings will stick with this lineup, but if they change things up expect it to be for the better.

Valencia gets the winner of the matchup between Canyon of Anaheim and Walnut in the second round.

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