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Foothill tennis: One to call their own

West Ranch wins Foothill League alone for first time ever after sharing title the last two years

Posted: October 27, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: October 27, 2011 1:55 a.m.

West Ranch doubles team Lena Poonnopatam, left, and Gabrielle Morici celebrate after winning a set against Hart on Wednesday at West Ranch High.

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Step one is complete.

The West Ranch girls tennis team clinched its first outright Foothill League title ever with a 13-5 victory over Hart on Wednesday at West Ranch High.

The Wildcats (15-0 overall, 9-0 Foothill League) came out like a team on a mission, jumping out to an early 5-1 lead after one round of play that proved insurmountable for the Indians (9-6, 5-4) to overcome.

“Our girls, they got a really quick start,” said West Ranch head coach Eric Spiecker. “It’s hard for a team to come back when they’re not at home. Hart’s tough, but we were a little bit sharper.”

West Ranch was strong on all sides, but the doubles teams solidified the victory.

Gabrielle Morici and Lena Poonnopatam, the Wildcats’ No. 1 doubles team, swept their three sets 6-0, 6-1, 6-1. West Ranch’s No. 2 doubles squad of Jordyn Jaffe and MacKenzie Lyle also swept, winning 6-1, 6-3, 6-0.

The Indians managed just one doubles victory on the day, as Hart’s No. 2 squad of Bailey Sindle and Brooke Seward won 6-1 in its second set of the day.

Hart fared better on the singles side, as Hart’s No. 1 Jackie Ressler and Hart’s No. 2 Proyfon Lohaphaisan each defeated West Ranch’s No. 2 player Julia Lynch and No. 3 player Annie DeGiorgio.

The difference, though, was West Ranch’s No. 1 singles player Ana Cecilia Fuentes — who entered the season as one of the leagues top players, and left her exclamation mark on Wednesday to help the Wildcats secure the league title.

Fuentes swept her three sets, 6-1, 6-0, 6-1.

“It was a huge team effort,” Spiecker said. “We’ve had different stars on our team shine at different times. Different players have stepped up and given us what we needed at different times. A star, and another star and another star, which is great.”

For Hart, which has already secured a third-place finish in league, the goal is to regroup in its next match today at Canyon at 3 p.m., before entering League Prelims on Nov. 2.

“(The Wildcats) are excellent and they deserve to be the No. 1 seed,” said Hart head coach Chris Mansfield. “They were the better team today.”

For West Ranch, it’s on to step two: trying to secure an undefeated season when they face Saugus High today at West Ranch at 3 p.m.

No matter what happens against the Centurions, though, the Wildcats will celebrate a season in which they ended Valencia High’s nine-year run of winning at least a share of the league championship.

The Wildcats have come close in each of the last two seasons, finishing tied atop the final league standings with the Vikings.

This year, West Ranch is alone at the top.

“Valencia has won every year, so sharing it felt great,” said Fuentes of tying with Valencia the last two seasons. “But it didn’t feel like we won league. It was a big accomplishment (this year) because West Ranch has never (won outright) before.”

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