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Foothill League girls tennis finals: The gold standard

Golden Valley’s Rebecca Ho and Valencia’s Shenelle Trujillo and Michelle Savage win league titles

Posted: November 4, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: November 4, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Golden Valley tennis player Rebecca Ho returns the ball on Thursday at The Paseo Club against Hart’s Proyfon Lohaphaisan. Ho won the Foothill League individual title.

After nearly losing her first set against a Foothill League opponent all season, Golden Valley junior Rebecca Ho rebounded to dominate the final round of the Foothill League finals on Thursday at The Paseo Club.

It was a similar story on the doubles side, as Valencia’s Michelle Savage and Shenelle Trujillo fell behind 4-3 in the first set to West Ranch’s Gabrielle Morici and Lena Poonnopatam before rattling off nine straight wins to secure the doubles title.

After advancing to Thursday’s action with little interference, Ho found herself in a tight spot in the first set of her semifinal against Hart freshman Proyfon Lohaphaisan.

Lohaphaisan twice fought off set points while down 5-4 before coming back to take a 6-5 lead.

Ho fell behind 40-0 in the next game before coming from behind to win and force a tiebreaker.

“I was really worried right there,” Ho said. “Especially when she had her set points against me. So I got more motivated.”

And that’s when Ho really turned it on.

She won the tiebreaker 7-1 and then swept the next set 6-0 to advance to the championship match.

In that final match, Ho faced off with West Ranch’s Ana Cecilia Fuentes, who defeated Hart’s Jackie Resler 6-1, 6-1 to advance to the finals.

Ho continued her impressive play in the final round, sweeping Fuentes 6-1, 6-2 to win the title.

“I feel really good,” Ho said. “I had tough matches and even though the score looks one-sided, it was a lot tougher.”

For Fuentes, despite the loss, playing Ho should benefit her as she moves forward into the playoffs.

“She’s an all-around good player,” Fuentes said. “It’s hard to get around. I can’t change my shots because she hits really hard and deep. It’s always great to play someone better than you because you find your mistakes.”

In doubles action, it was an all Valencia-West Ranch semifinal.

The No. 1 seed of Trujillo and Savage defeated West Ranch’s Jordyn Jaffe and MacKenzie Lyle 6-2, 7-5 to advance to the championship match.

West Ranch got the better of Valencia on the other side of the bracket, as Morici and Poonnopatam defeated the Vikings’ Ashley Keith and Tina Inchalik 6-4, 6-1 before falling 6-4, 6-0 to Trujillo and Savage.

Trujillo and Savage fell behind early in the first set, but righted the ship to win the set on their way to the title.

“I feel really good (about the win),” Trujillo said. “We had the will, so I knew if we tapped into it (after falling behind) that we still had a good chance to win.”

By virtue of making it to the final match, Ho and Fuentes will appear in the CIF-Southern Section Individual Tennis Playoffs, as will Trujillo and Savage, and Morici and Poonnopatam.

West Ranch is the only school this season to send more than one player or team to the playoffs with Fuentes, Morici and Poonopatam.

And Ho became the first tennis player from Golden Valley to qualify for the Individual Playoffs, according to Golden Valley head coach Josh Stimac.

“It’s a whole team thing,” said West Ranch head coach Eric Spiecker of having multiple players make playoffs. “The whole team works to make everyone better.”

West Ranch added to its accolades in the third-place doubles match, as Jaffe and Lyle beat Keith and Inchalik 6-3, 6-2.

Lohaphaisan defeated Ressler 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 to claim third place in league.

The Individual Playoffs will begin on Nov. 18 at one of four possible sites around Southern California. Seeding will be announced Monday at 11 a.m.


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