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Valencia doubles team a steady force

Posted: May 12, 2014 11:05 p.m.
Updated: May 12, 2014 11:05 p.m.

Valencia doubles team Sam Rebele, left, and Ravi Jayanthi joined forces this year to become the team's top pairing. The two of them won the Foothill League double tournament title.

In every match, every set and every point, Valencia seniors Sam Rebele and Ravi Jayanthi know they have to keep their energy and enthusiasm levels high.

Not just for themselves, but for the team as a whole.

As senior leaders and the No. 1 doubles pairing on the Valencia’s boys tennis team, Rebele and Jayanthi have taken on their leadership roles with the same energy they bring to the court.

“It’s a lot of pressure but we have the most experience,” says Jayanthi. “We welcome that kind of responsibility. It gives us a purpose to be out there. We’re supporting the team.”

Coming into the year, the majority of the pressure to keep the doubles lineup on track fell on Rebele who was the only doubles player remaining from last year’s squad.

He earned the 2013 All-Santa Clarita Valley Boys Tennis Doubles Team of the Year with partner
David Myers by upsetting teammates Chris Pope and Cameron Braun in the Foothill League Finals and then made it to the quarterfinals of the CIF-Southern Section Division I postseason.

But who his partner would be in 2014 was a question mark.

“This season was interesting because we didn’t have a straightforward idea of what the matchups would be,” Rebele says.

Rebele and Jayanthi started the preseason together before changing partners multiple times in order to help bring along the underclassmen and find the best pairings.

But in the end they were reunited because they were the most effective of all the combinations.

“They’re my two strongest guys on doubles,” says Valencia head coach Annie Kellogg. “Earlier in the season I was trying to even up on teams and help the younger players along. But we needed (Sam and Ravi) this year and they stepped up.”

It’s fitting that the two end up together.

Having known each other since kindergarten, Jayanthi and Rebele started became good friends when they reached freshman year.

That relationship helped immeasurably on the court.

“We understand how the other guy works a little better than most teams,” says Jayanthi. “We know what buttons to push and how to motivate each other.”

Rebele agrees, saying their friendship makes it much easier to read each other and convey messages on the court without many words.

But the most important part of their dynamic is their energy level.

“I like to get pumped up before matches,” says Rebele. “It’s something we did last year. It’s important to keep being aggressive at the net and finishing points.”

Rebele credits his former teammate Myers for instilling the need to be high-energy on every point.

“Everything I know about playing doubles, I learned from David,” he says. “He gave me the intensity that I tried to bring to this year’s team.”

That intensity certainly helped in his partnership with Jayanthi.

The two are 47-11 in sets together and have been the most consistent doubles pairing for the Vikings.

“Their enthusiasm and positive attitude certainly rubs off on the team,” says Kellogg. “Even though they’re always bouncing around, they stay pretty calm and relaxed when they need to be. They’re good at finding a balance and hitting their shots.”

And now as the Vikings prepare themselves to face Claremont High in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division II playoffs on Wednesday, Jayanthi and Rebele will have to continue to be the stabilizing force for Valencia.



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