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Prep tennis: Canyon eyes turnaround

Cowboys victorious for first time in 2011

Posted: September 7, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: September 7, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Canyon High doubles team member Paulette Alonsagay, left, eyes the tennis ball as teammate Brooke Licon shifts over at Canyon High on Tuesday.

The Canyon Cowboys girls tennis team is trying to do more than win matches this season.

It’s trying to change a culture.

After finishing last season 4-12, and without a win in 10 Foothill League matches, new head coach Annie Araujo can take satisfaction in the Cowboys performance Tuesday afternoon at Canyon High.

The Cowboys (1-1) led by their doubles squads, defeated Knight High School 12-6.

The doubles teams combined to drop only eight games, sweeping all nine of their sets.

The No. 1 doubles team of senior Paulette Alonsogay and sophomore Brooke Licon led the Cowboys, dropping just one game while winning three sets.

The singles side didn’t fair nearly as well for the Cowboys, losing four of their first six sets to start the singles portion of its match up with the Hawks.

Nonetheless, the Cowboys No. 2 Rebecca Bingenheimer bounced back in one of the final matches of the day, winning 6-0 after dropping her first two sets and helping the Cowboys singles finish 3-6.

Hawks No. 1 singles player Leah Schoff swept through Canyons three singles players 6-4, 6-1, 6-1.

No. 2 Juviel Vinluam matched Schoff’s feat, winning three sets 6-2, 6-4, 6-3.

The Cowboys were shorthanded on the singles side, as Araujo decided to move Alonsogay, who played singles in Canyon’s season opening loss to Simi Valley, to the doubles side.

Araujo said Alonsogay is talented at both singles and doubles and she will continue to play her on both sides depending on the match.

The Mustangs were depleted as well, though, as head coach Ann Kerr was forced to sit out some girls on her doubles squad due to eligibility issues, she said.

But overall, Kerr was happy with the performance of her team in its season opener.

“I think that my one and two were good choices, and we’ve got to bring up our game for number three,” Kerr said. “For doubles, we’re still working on it. We’ll get locked in later as the season progresses.”

To Araujo the win was an important one, coming off the heels of a loss in their season opener on Sept. 1.

Canyon lost that match 18-0, and Araujo said it was important to build up their confidence and belief in themselves going forward.

“It’s challenging because they haven’t really experienced too many wins,” Araujo said. “So to kind of change that, it’s changing their attitude. We’ve been working on that a lot during practice, and before or after a game, to change that. To let them know that they can win, they’re not losers. I think that’s really built their confidence and their playing level too.”

On Tuesday, that confidence level appeared high, and now that the Cowboys are back on the winning side, they’re looking forward to keeping the momentum going.

“This is a team that they’re not used to winning. They have that losing mentality,” Araujo said. “So today, they got a taste of what it is to win. So hopefully they’ll savor it.”


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