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Rock and Ranch

Wildcats singles players go undefeated in league opener

Posted: September 23, 2008 9:17 p.m.
Updated: November 25, 2008 5:00 a.m.

West Ranch's Mallory Martin reaches for the ball as her doubles teammate True O'Neill watches in the duo's win over Saugus' No. 1 doubles team.

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Even though West Ranch only has one senior among its top three singles players and No. 1 doubles team, at times the Wildcats can be pretty dominant.

That was the case Tuesday, in a 14-4 dismantling of Saugffus, a solid team in its own right.

West Ranch won all nine singles matches in the Foothill League opener, by a total score of 54-8. There were five matches of 6-0, a near-perfect showing by the home team.

"I liked what I saw," said West Ranch head coach Eric Spiecker. "I think they played within their games. It's definitely a good opener."

The Wildcats finished third in the Foothill League last season, and the Cenutrions finished fourth at 4-6, losing twice each to playoff teams Valencia, Hart and WRHS.

Wildcats freshman Lena Poonnopatam, the younger sister of senior Gavelyn, and No. 1 singles player Ana Lucia Fuentes both won 6-0 matches.

Fuentes, a sophomore, transferred from Early College High School in Santa Clarita. It is supported in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Gavelyn Ponnopatam beat Saugus singles No. 1 player Emily Wilson, 6-3.

"My backhand was pretty good," Ponnopatam said. "I wanted to stay at the baseline."

West Ranch, which is still trying to solidify its Nos. 2 and 3 doubles teams, won that part of the match, 5-4.

The Wildcat duo of True O'Neill and Mallory Martin swept their three doubles matches, 6-4, 6-3, 6-2.

In the matchup of No. 1 doubles squads, O'Neill overcame being set up with slices and wide shots by Megan Soucy of Saugus.

After trailing 3-0, O'Neill and Martin fought back to tie the score. Martin cut off shots at the net by Christina Callas, O'Neill's serve held strong and the Wildcats won.

"We had to focus," O'Neill said. "The wind played a factor and their ability to hit crosscourt was a challenge."

Two of Saugus' wins came off the rackets of Soucy and Callas, both by scores of 6-3. Beatrice Araujo and Rachel Marucut defeated Amy Choi and Stacey Alabastro, 6-3, in No. 2 doubles play. Araujo and Marucut won, 6-2.

Saugus head coach Allan Hardbarger appeared optimistic despite the loss. He was looking ahead to Thursday's match at Hart High School.

"West Ranch has a very talented singles lineup," Hardbarger said. "I think our doubles teams played well. Hopefully we can beat Hart."

Salene Scamardo and Olivia Ruiz of West Ranch won 6-3 over Sarah Theroux and Mariah Aguinaldo.

The final league standings will determine the seedings for the CIF-SS Tournament.

The top three teams in league will qualify for the playoffs.

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