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The different duo

Valencia tennis’ Dietz and Zammit are opposites with a common goal

Posted: October 19, 2009 10:38 p.m.
Updated: October 20, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Valencia's No. 1 doubles team of Chelsie Dietz, left, and Andrea Zammit had to wait awhile before they got to play together for the Vikings, but they've become a doubles force in the Foothill League.

 
Valencia High girls tennis’ No. 1 doubles team is a dichotomy.

Tall, strong and relying on her serve, junior Chelsie Dietz patrols the baseline with intent.

Sprite, quick and athletic, junior Andrea Zammit flies around the net, placing shots with accuracy. 

And together, they’ve been giving the Foothill League fits this year all over the court.

Accumulating a record of 39-4 this season, which includes an 18-set undefeated streak through six Foothill League matches, the duo has been an anchor for the first-place Vikings.

“They cover the court well together because they know the other person and how they move and how they will play,” says Vikings head coach Annie Kellogg. “That really helps in a doubles team, if you know how your partner is going to move.”

But the pair’s chemistry didn’t develop overnight.

Coincidentally, both began separately taking tennis lessons from Donna Peterson, a private instructor in the Santa Clarita Valley, while both were in seventh grade.

“I went to (Peterson) one day and Chelsie was there, and we just started talking and playing against each other and then hanging out,” Zammit says.

“We thought it would be a good thing if we started playing as doubles partners because we play so well together,” Dietz says.

It became a solid friendship after both found out they would be playing together on the same high school team at Valencia, despite their differences.

“She’s very enthusiastic and cheerful, and I’m more serious and definitely more mellow,” Dietz says.

“Chelsie is much more serious and the quiet one,” Zammit agrees. “She helps me calm down, and I help her get pumped up.”

Kellogg laughs when hearing the players’ descriptions of their dynamic, adding that it is pretty accurate.

She jokingly refers to the pair as the “Energizer bunny and the grandma,” but also notes how well it works for them on the court.

“Andrea gets real excited out there ... (Chelsie) just goes with the ebb and flow of the game, and she stays calm,” Kellogg says. “It doesn’t matter what the score is.”

Their tennis games seem to complement one another as their personalities do, but Dietz and Zammit had to wait for their opportunity to play together at Valencia.

While both played junior varsity their freshman year, the needs of the team dictated that Zammit play singles and Dietz play doubles.

The pair eagerly awaited their opportunity to play with each other in a doubles match and let their coach know about their intentions every chance they got.

Kellogg says she remembers them asking to play together on more than one occasion.

“It’s funny because I remember they really wanted to play together,” Kellogg says. “They’d just keep working harder and it was always, ‘Coach, just give us one more chance.’ They’re always trying to get better and prove themselves.”

Zammit and Dietz say it became a goal for both of them, working constantly in practice for a chance to play together.

“We’ve always wanted to play together, so any chance we got to choose partners to challenge, we would always choose each other,” Dietz says.

Midway through last season, Dietz and Zammit finally got their chance when a lineup spot opened up. After successfully playing a simulated match for a shot at a position, the pair moved into the No. 3 doubles spot for Valencia.

Kellogg says since the pairing, she has tried mixing them up with other partners but has received mixed results.

“It didn’t really work out as well when I split them up, but when I put them together they just kind of fit,” Kellogg says. “They know each other’s game and they play well together.”

Zammit says the pair has a couple important goals carved out for themselves and the team.

“Chelsie and I really want to win the league finals in doubles this year, and it’d be great if Valencia finally wins the CIF finals after going for four years straight,” Zammit says. “But I think it’s one step at a time.”

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