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Vikings handle winds, ’Cats

Seven doubles teams win to help Valencia’s cause

Posted: March 27, 2009 1:40 a.m.
Updated: March 27, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Valencia's Ronny Kimelman, left, hits the ball back to West Ranch as teammate Anders Jansson watches Thursday afternoon at Valencia High School.

Valencia came into Thursday’s match against West Ranch with the goal of defending its reputation as the elite team in the Foothill League, but it turned out that the Vikings were up against more than just an up-and-coming Wildcat team.

The reigning league champions also had to battle gusting winds en route to a 13-5 win, thanks to seven doubles victories and a perfect day from No. 1 singles player Tyler Gottshall.

“We had to deal with the same weather as they did,” said West Ranch head coach Eric Spiecker. “What it came down to was that there were nine sets decided by a single break, and they won seven of them so that was the difference.”

The most competitive match of the day was between the top singles players. Gottshall outlasted Jordan Hovis for a 7-6 (7-2) victory.

“It was extremely windy out there, but I worked to keep it together,” Gottshall said. “I played well in the tie-breaker against Jordan, and then the whole team really got going in the second round.”

After the first group of sets, the Vikings (7-1, 2-0) held a 4-2 lead, but head coach Annie Kellogg knew that West Ranch (4-2, 1-1) had an early chance to get in front of the Vikings.

“There was a point where it looked very possible that West Ranch could get ahead of us 5-1, but our guys really showed how hard they can work,” Kellogg said. “We feel like this group works harder than any other team in the area, and we knew today was a day when we would have to use all that training to beat West Ranch.”

Valencia’s top doubles team of Ronnie Kimelman and Anders Jansson won all three of its matches, as did the Vikings No. 2 team of J.R. Macalutas and Matt Cheng.

“Overall we played really good,” Kimelman said. “It can be kind of nerve-racking to have to play in conditions like this, but I think we both got comfortable as the day went on.”

Spiecker viewed the day as a growing opportunity and a missed chance to score a victory against the perennial favorite.

“They left the door open a little bit today,” Spiecker said. “We tried to get our foot in that door, but they slammed it on us, and now my foot hurts.”

For Gottshall, the win was another notch on a season that has already seen him lead the Vikings to a win in the Valencia Spring Smash.

“West Ranch is a great group of competitors,” Gottshall said. “I was especially proud of our young guys for helping us pull this one out.”


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