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Valencia tennis beats Chaminade with their one-two punch

Posted: March 13, 2014 10:23 p.m.
Updated: March 13, 2014 10:23 p.m.

Valencia's Nick Joyce hits an overhead slam over Chaminade doubles partners, Leo Kim and Michael Scalera, during Thursday's match at Valencia High School.

 

The Valencia boys tennis team’s one-two punch of Chad LeDuff and Joey Fernicola led the Vikings to another win, this time 14-4 over visiting Chaminade on Thursday.

And while their playing styles may be different, their domination over their opponents is the same.

LeDuff took down the Eagles in straight sets (6-4, 6-0, 6-1).

And while LeDuff, the reigning Foothill League champion, is known for his powerful playing style, Vikings head coach Annie Kellogg is seeing improvement in the finesse areas of his game.

“Chad is taking his game up another level,” she said. “Everyone knows about his power but his net play has picked up a lot.”

Conversely, Fernicola plays a much headier game.

He won the first two sets against Chaminade (6-4, 6-0) before being subbed out in the final set.

“Joey is playing so smart,” Kellogg said. “He has matured so much as a player. He may not hit the big bombs that Chad does, but he can beat just about anyone with his net play.”

The Vikings lost five of their six doubles players to graduation, but so far it seems that they haven’t missed a step.

They were just as dominant in their doubles matches on Thursday, winning eight of their nine sets.

Doubles anchors Sam Rebele and Nick Joyce beat Chaminade’s No. 1 doubles team of Leo Kim and Michael Scalera 6-1 then won their final two sets 6-2, 6-1.

The Vikings second team of Ravi Jayanthi and Nabor Cabanillas dropped their first set 6-4, but finished strong, winning the next two sets by a 6-1 score.

“We lost a lot of talent to graduation this offseason,” Kellogg said. “But we’re 5-1 now and the guys have been getting better every match.”

For a team with 70 straight Foothill League wins and eight straight Foothill League titles, the pressure to succeed is big.

But with leaders like LeDuff, Fernicola and Rebele the Vikings look poised for another big season.

“They all want to keep the streak going,” Kellogg said. “None of them wants to have that first loss on their watch.”

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