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Hovis is hard court king

West Ranch senior wins singles title; Valencia claims doubles crown

Posted: May 6, 2009 9:46 p.m.
Updated: May 7, 2009 4:55 a.m.

West Ranch's Jordan Hovis hits a return to Valencia's Tyler Gottshall during the Foothill League championship match Wednesday at Paseo Club in Valencia.

 
Coming into Wednesday’s Foothill League boys tennis finals one fact was certain: The day was going to belong to Valencia and West Ranch.

With every player in the singles and doubles semifinals from either the Vikings or the Wildcats, a championship sweep or split was a guarantee. When the last match of two days’ worth of serves and volleys ended, Jordan Hovis of West Ranch topped the singles field and Valencia’s J.R. Macalutas and Matt Cheng were crowned the best doubles team in the Foothill League.

Hovis was the individual story of the event, running his undefeated streak to 26 straight matches en route to his victory.

He dropped teammate Beau Martin in the first match of the day 6-4, 6-2, and then rallied to defeat top-seeded Tyler Gottshall 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

“Once I lost that first set to Tyler I thought to myself, ‘This match is going three sets,’” Hovis said. “I knew Tyler was playing really well, but I also knew that if I kept playing my game, then eventually the opportunities were going to present themselves, and I just had to take advantage when they presented themselves.”

Hovis made the most out of his chances by rolling through the second set and breaking Gottshall early in the decisive set to take a 3-1 lead, which he never relinquished.

“I made the finals so I can’t be too disappointed,” Gottshall said. “Jordan played a really good match, but now we just have to focus on playing as a team and doing as well as we can in the CIF tournament next week.”

The win was the culmination of three years of varsity play for the West Ranch senior.

In his sophomore year Hovis took third place, and in 2008 he lost in the finals.

“You could see the difference in Jordan’s game this year and his game last year today,” said West Ranch head coach Eric Spiecker. “Last year, he probably wouldn’t have been able to bounce back from losing the first set, but this year he has found the way to reach down because the match is far from over. Now he really knows that this is a thinking game as much as it is a physical game.”

On the doubles side, top-seeded Macalutas and Cheng won both their Wednesday matches in straight sets.

They took out West Ranch’s team of Jeremy Ramirez and Patrick Fuertes in the semis 6-1, 6-2, and downed teammates Ronny Kimelman and Anders Jansson 6-3, 6-4, to take the event.

“We felt pretty comfortable today,” Macalutas said. “We had to deal with a lot of wind, but we knew that if we played consistently that we would be able to get our shots in.”

Macalutas and Cheng won all eight of their sets in the tournament, proving themselves to be worthy of the top ranking.
Valencia doubles went undefeated in the first day of play, winning six matches, and both of its teams that lost were eliminated by fellow Vikings.

“We really feel like our doubles teams are important,” said Valencia head coach Annie Kellogg. “I’m very pleased with how all of our guys played, and our doubles was especially strong, which shows how much talent we have for a young team.”

For West Ranch and Valencia, the tournament was the culmination of a Foothill League season that saw the teams post a combined 18-2 league mark.

“This was a fitting conclusion to the tournament for Jordan,” Spiecker said. “Tyler played a great match too, and I thought Beau played really well over the last two days. It was great to get to watch all these talented players, and to see Jordan really cement his place in the history of this program. You aren’t going to see a whole lot of players accomplish what Jordan accomplished in the Foothill League.”

kdamore@the-signal.com

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