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Vikings tennis standout headed to LMU

Gottshall becomes programs’ first boys player to go straight to NCAA Division I

Posted: January 21, 2010 9:56 p.m.
Updated: January 22, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Valencia tennis player Tyler Gottshall returns a shot on May 14, 2009, against Burbank. Gottshall has committed to Loyola Marymount University.

 
Valencia boys tennis captain Tyler Gottshall has one less thing to worry about heading into his senior season - college plans.

Gottshall recently committed to Loyola Marymount University, becoming the first boys' tennis player from Valencia to go straight to an NCAA Division I team.

Gottshall, who plays No. 1 singles for the Vikings, will join former Viking Jack Zapala, who transferred from Azusa Pacific University last year.

"I decided on LMU because the campus was really beautiful. It's a nice campus, a nice, small school. It's near the beach," Gottshall said. "I wanted to stay in California, plus I know the coach there."

Gottshall met LMU tennis head coach Brad Sceney, who's in his second year with the program, while Sceney was an instructor locally at The Paseo Club.

"I met him probably when I was 12 or 13," Gottshall said. "I took lessons with him until he started coaching at LMU."

Valencia tennis head coach Annie Kellogg said Gottshall's 6-foot-6-inch frame, a great serve-and-volley game and unparalleled dedication should allow him to make an impact right away.

"(Gottshall's) dedication is just amazing - not only for tennis, but for physical conditioning as well," Kellogg said. "He'll be a big contributor right away in doubles."

Gottshall and Zapala, who is also a big hitter at 6-feet-4-inches, played doubles together as Vikings and made it to the quarterfinals of the CIF-Southern Section Individual Tennis Championship in 2008. Kellogg said it's the farthest anyone's made it on the individual side in her 15 years with the team.

She added that their styles are similar, and they both have big games that seem to complement each other.

"(Gottshall) leads by example, which is kind of like Jack, too. "They're on the quiet side but lead by example - walk softly and swing a big stick kind of guys," Kellogg said. "Definitely among the most hard-working kids I've had in the program."

Collegiate tennis is different than at the high school level, where athletes can only play singles or doubles in high school. Gottshall said he is looking forward to the opportunity to do both for his team at LMU.

"Yeah, I definitely want to play doubles there," Gottshall said. "I probably play better in doubles than I do in singles. I have an advantage because my size helps me out in doubles. I just want to do whatever I can to help my team win."

Gottshall has one more season left for Valencia, as the Vikings will try to defend their Foothill League championship when league play begins in the spring.


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