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On the Beat Tennis: W.R. versatility on display

Posted: May 7, 2014 10:09 p.m.
Updated: May 7, 2014 10:09 p.m.

After Wednesday’s Foothill League boys tennis prelims, three things stick out.

First is the versatility of West Ranch’s lineup.

Noah Morrow has been a very reliable No. 2 option as a freshman for the Wildcats in their singles lineup behind senior standout Harrison Collins, but he will be competing in today’s semifinals as a doubles player with Chris Gaw.

Morrow and Gaw could face teammates Jonathan Y. Lee and Brandon Oh in the finals if things work out the Wildcats way.

Gaw and Lee started league play together as the No. 1 doubles team for West Ranch and could possibly end it facing each other.

West Ranch head coach Eric Spiecker hasn’t been afraid to try different pairings throughout the season and has let some players, like Morrow and fellow freshman Quincy Walter-Eze, jump from doubles to singles play from time to time.

With freshman like Morrow, Walter-Eze and Justin Lin, who swept his sets against Golden Valley in his first ever varsity action on April 1, the Wildcats look like they could be tough to beat for a long time.

The second interesting takeaway of Wednesday’s prelims was that of the 24 matches of tennis played, only one needed more than two sets to determine a winner.

That match was between West Ranch’s third-seeded team of Walter-Eze and Logan Boute and Valencia’s Sam Rebele and Ravi Jayanthi.

For the second time in less than a week, Rebele and Jayanthi were able to squeeze past Walter-Eze and Boute, this time by scores of 6-2, 2-6, 6-3.

In their last matchup on May 1, Rebele and Jayanthi needed a tiebreaker to take down Walter-Eze and Boute, winning the set 7-6 (7-5 tiebreaker).

Now Rebele and Jayanthi will face West Ranch’s Lee and Oh in the semifinals.

Lee and Oh won their last matchup against Rebele and Jayanthi 6-3.

The final note from the prelims is the path Valencia’s Chad LeDuff has to take to win the singles tournament.

The top singles player in the Santa Clarita Valley cruised through the first and second rounds without dropping a game.

Now LeDuff now has to face the only one in the Foothill League to beat him as a singles player in Golden Valley’s Brandon Yu.

Yu ended LeDuff’s perfect league record with a 7-6 win on April 22. The two were back-and-forth the entire set before Yu could pull away and win the tiebreaker 7-3.

Now LeDuff gets his chance to reclaim his spot as the unquestioned No. 1 in singles play.

The finals could be close as well assuming LeDuff advances and West Ranch’s Collins beats Hart’s Elliot Miller.

Collins has yet to beat LeDuff but he’s gotten close.

LeDuff won their first matchup of the year 6-2 on April 3 but Collins came back strong on May 1, making LeDuff work for a 7-5 victory.

The third time might be the charm if Collins continues his upward trend against LeDuff.

Final Standings: West Ranch ended Valencia’s eight-year reign at the top of the Foothill League and took over as the team to beat. On the flip side of the standings, the Cowboys ended the year winless in league play.

1. West Ranch

2. Valencia

3. Hart

4. Golden Valley

5. Saugus

6. Canyon


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