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Viking's glass is only a quarter full

Posted: May 14, 2008 1:32 a.m.
Updated: July 15, 2008 5:03 a.m.

Valencia High's No. 1 singles player Jack Zapala reacts after hitting the ball into the net during his set against Palm Desert High in the quarterfinal round of the CIF-Southern Section Division II playoffs on Tuesday. The Vikings were defeated by the Aztecs 14-4.

Valencia ignored the motto, "The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat" in a boys' varsity tennis match-up against Palm Desert High School.

Unfortunately, Tuesday's quarterfinal match between the Vikings and the Aztecs said otherwise.

The Aztecs defeated Valencia 14-4 on the Vikings home court.

At the end of the match Valencia's No. 3 player Tyler Gottshall was swarmed by teammates at the end of his last set, in which he won 6-4. The team dog piled on top of him as if his set was a deciding factor victory, when in reality it was the only set Gottshall would win and the Aztecs had already sealed the win by the time Gottshall stepped to play his last set.

As if that wasn't enough, the team continued the festivities by pouring a five gallon water cooler on top of each other and chasing each other around the court like monkeys in a zoo.

Perhaps it was a celebration of a season where the Vikings went undefeated in the Foothill League, and carried the team farther into the postseason than any other team in recent times.

Historically, the Vikings have not had much luck getting past the quarterfinal round and only a few times reaching the semifinals.

For Viking's head coach Annie Kellogg, it was job well done as far as she sees.

"We did a great job and we had a good season," she said. " We wanted to get into the semi's, but this team was a little too tough for us to beat."

This was the second time in two years that the two teams met in postseason action.

This time last year the Vikings defeated the Aztecs in a nine all tie winning by four games.

On Tuesday though, the Aztecs were out for revenge.

Palm Desert was dominant from the start. The Vikings' No.3 seed double team of Alex Pick and Conner Comp were the only duo to get a win off of the Aztecs.

The Vikings' No. 2 singles player Jimmy Kim was swept in all three of his sets.

"They are a good team," Kellogg said of the Aztecs. "They are well coached, have a lot of talent and are very deep."

Valencia's No.1 seeded singles player, Jack Zapala, was plagued with injuries entering Tuesday's match but was the only Viking to win two sets 7-6,6-4,4-6.

Zapala, who never dropped a set during the season, was slowed by a tweaked back and blisters.

But this is not the end of the season for the No.1 seed, he and teammate Tyler Gottshall will play in the first round of CIF-Southern Section Division I individual play as a doubles team Friday in Arcadia.

Gottshall, a sophomore, is looking forward to going far into the playoffs with Zapala as his partner.

"I'm pretty excited," he said. "Jack and I have a good chance, it will be fun."

With two more years still to go on the Vikings squad and Zapala off to play at the next level in college, Valencia will be looking to Gottshall as the team's preeminent player, a move that Gottshall has yet to contemplate.

"I'm not thinking about it," he said. "It will be a lot of pressure."

And although the 2008 season is over for the Vikings, Kellogg said she is already thinking about next season.

"I've already approached some of my JV players," she said. "I told them they need to step up and take some of these guys spots. They are very enthusiastic and I'm hoping they will work hard."


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