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Boys tennis: Pairing troubles

Vikes lose to Harvard-Westlake in tough pre-Foothill matchup

Posted: March 11, 2010 10:50 p.m.
Updated: March 12, 2010 4:30 a.m.

Valencia No. 2 singles player Ben Inchalik returns a rally against Harvard-Westlake School on Thursday at Valencia High. Valencia lost 12-6.

Valencia boys tennis fell behind early and couldn’t swing its way out of trouble in a 12-6 loss to Harvard-Westlake School of North Hollywood on Thursday at Valencia High.

The match was the third and final test in a tough week of matches for the Vikings.

Valencia (4-2) beat Eagle Rock High on Monday and then Thousand Oaks High on Wednesday before its second home loss of the season.

Vikings head coach Annie Kellogg said the contests were an effort to challenge her team as much as possible to prepare it for a tough Foothill League schedule.

Harvard-Westlake was a CIF-Southern Section Division semifinalist last season, eliminated by eventual division champion Thousand Oaks.

“We had a lot of close sets out here today,” Kellogg said. “But you know, there’s nothing wrong with losing as long as you learn from it. I think we just have to learn from it. (The loss) is great for us at this juncture in the season.”

The Vikings’ doubles were in control on Wednesday, but it was a different story against Harvard-Westlake.

The Wolverines (3-1) took seven of nine doubles sets, and the No. 2 team of Kyle Martin-Patterson and Roy Murdoch earned a sweep by taking all three sets, 6-1, 6-1, 6-0 respectively.

No. 2 singles player Chris Kenney also swept for the Wolverines, winning 6-1, 6-1, 6-0.

Valencia senior Tyler Gottshall, who plays No. 1 singles, said Thursday’s sets were tougher than Wednesday’s and revealed some areas the team needed to work on.

“The singles players we played today were definitely a lot better. I think we played pretty good, but we can still get a lot better,” Gottshall said. “Me and Ben (Inchalik) are kind of playing up and down, and I think maybe it’s because our confidence isn’t where it should be.”

Gottshall won his first set 7-6, 8-6 on a tiebreaker, over Hardvard-Westlake’s No. 1, lost 1-6 to Kenney and picked up a second set in a 6-2 win over the Wolverines’ No. 3, Harrison Kalt.

Valencia sophomore J.R. Macalutas, who plays No. 3 singles, echoed Gottshall’s sentiment on the afternoon. Macalutas dropped two close sets 4-6, 3-6, before winning his third, 6-2.    

“I thought the matchup was great,” Macalutas said. “I should have won my first match, but they were all good (players) and it’s just great playing good people. It’s great practice.”  

The Vikings appreciated the challenge and the tough scheduling, said Valencia senior Daniel Bingham, who plays No. 3 doubles with Daniel Bogan.

Bingham and Bogan won their first set over the Wolverines’ No. 3 spot 6-3, then dropped a pair 4-6, 0-6.

“It’s actually a really good experience,” Bingham said, of the three-match week. “I think it brings our game to a whole new level. With every hard match we play, it gets us even more pumped up.”



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