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West Ranch tennis ends Valencia's streak

Posted: April 3, 2014 10:59 p.m.
Updated: April 3, 2014 10:59 p.m.

West Ranch doubles players Chris Gaw, left, and Jonathan Y. Lee compete against Valencia on Thursday at West Ranch High School. The Wildcats won eight of nine sets on the doubles side.

It was bound to happen at some point.

And the Valencia boys tennis team put up a tremendous fight, but in the end West Ranch did what many others had failed to do and beat the Vikings 10-8 on Thursday at West Ranch High.

Coming into the day, The Vikings had won 75 straight Foothill League matches and hadn’t really been challenged.

West Ranch head coach Eric Spiecker had been looking forward to see how his team stacked up against a Valencia squad that has won eight straight Foothill League titles.

“We’ve been talking about it since August and part of you is just glad that it’s over,” he said. “I was thinking that if my kids could play the game plan that we set forth, and just keep doing the right things, I was hoping we could win. We were down 3-5 in the match and the kids dug down deep and pulled out the win.”

Valencia controlled the singles sets behind another strong performance from Chad LeDuff. He swept his sets 6-0, 6-1, 6-2.

Joey Fernicola also swept his sets for the Vikings, but had his work cut out for him in the final set of the day against West Ranch senior Harrison Collins.

After a long, hard-fought set between the two, Fernicola was finally able to put Collins away and win 7-5.

But the difference for West Ranch was its doubles teams.

The Wildcats No. 1 team of Chris Gaw and Jonathan Y. Lee swept through their sets 6-0, 6-0, 6-1.

And the No. 3 team of Logan Boute and Quincy Walter-Eze also swept their sets 6-2, 6-1, 7-5.

In all, West Ranch took eight of its nine doubles sets.

“It’s pretty fantastic,” said Walter-Eze of the win. “Everyone was really excited and I think it raised our team spirit a lot.”

For the Vikings, head coach Annie Kellogg gets to do something she hasn’t been able to do in a long time — use a loss as a teaching moment.

“I asked them all ‘If you were going to play them tomorrow, what’s one thing that you would do differently?’ And they all came up with things,” she said. “There’s no failure, just feedback.

“It was a great match. Awesome competition all around. Our singles came up big for me and their doubles came up big for them. It was just a close, hard-fought match.”

The Vikings will have their chance at redemption on May 1 when they host West Ranch for the second round of what’s sure to be another great match.


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