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CIF tennis playoffs: Vikings' comeback falls short

Posted: November 8, 2013 11:58 p.m.
Updated: November 8, 2013 11:58 p.m.
 

At 4:15 p.m. the Canyon (Anaheim) Comanches girls’ tennis team was up 7-3 and cruising in its CIF-Southern Section Division II second round playoff match against the Valencia Vikings.

Thirty minutes later the Vikings were down just 8-7 and riding the momentum, and it was Canyon that had to regather itself in a high pressure situation.

Unfortunately for the Vikings, the Comanches were up to the task — holding on 10-8 to squeak into the third round of playoffs after a sure-thing became a dogfight.

“We just kept fighting out there, their team was used to closing out matches by the second round so they weren’t used to battling it out,” said Valencia head coach Annie Kellogg. “Some of the shots they were making earlier they were starting to miss, and we stayed in it.”

The shift from walk-over to hotly contested playoff battle began when Valencia No. 1 singles player Tina Inchalik overcame a 0-3 deficit against Canyon’s No. 3 to win 6-3 and bring the game score to 7-4.

Minutes later Valencia’s senior tandem of Lindsey Wolf and Morgan Meunitz came back from a 6-5 deficit in a tiebreaker to win 7-6 (8-6) and bring the game score to 7-5.

But because Canyon had won its first leg of matches so convincingly, it had a commanding lead in games, meaning it would win a 9-9 draw regardless.

Up 8-7, the Comanches needed just one game while the Vikings (15-5) needed three.

With the season on the line, Valencia netted just one of those three, and Canyon moved to 18-0 on the season and advanced to the third round.  

“These seven seniors were part of a group that all started as freshmen on varsity,” said Canyon head coach Wil Wilkins. “Results aside this turned out to be a great match.”

The Comanches’ win is revenge for last season, when the Vikings ended Canyon’s playoff run in the second round.

Valencia may not have fielded its strongest team this season, but the program still put a doubles team into the CIF individual playoffs and made it past the first cut of this year’s team draw — an encouraging result for a squad that will return the majority of its impact players in 2014.

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