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Not bad for second place

Wildcats have best finish in team history

Posted: October 30, 2008 10:16 p.m.
Updated: January 1, 2009 5:00 a.m.

Hart No. 1 singles player Anne Susdorf prepared to strike a forehand in her first match Thursday at West Ranch. Susdorf was undefeated in league play.

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In the brief history of West Ranch tennis, including the past three seasons in the Foothill League, the Wildcats had never finished above third place.

Until Thursday.

West Ranch won 11-7 at home over Hart, clinching second place with an 8-2 record.

The result was another close one between the Wildcats and Indians, after West Ranch won 10-8 at Hart earlier in the season.

Valencia finished 10-0 to win league. Hart (6-4) came in third.

"It's been a great year," said West Ranch head coach Eric Spiecker. "It's been a lot of things lining up at the right time."

Both teams' next match is the Foothill League preliminaries at 10 a.m. on Wednesday at Paseo Tennis Club.

One of those things was a 7-6 (8-6) tight knit win by Wildcat No. 3 singles player Lena Poonnopatam over Hart's No. 2 Shelly Sachdeva.

Sachdeva went ahead 3-1 after the two traded double faults. But Poonnopatam won an exchange at the net with a forehand stab to take a 7-6 lead. On match point, the West Ranch freshman hit a hard forehand winner that landed just within the baseline.

"I stayed calm, tried to tell myself the match isn't over yet," Poonnopatam said. "I just tried to get it back and get it in."

Anne Susdorf, the front-runner for Foothill League MVP, stayed undefeated in league play this season. She beat both of Valencia's top singles players, Isabella Fraczek and Thalia Wilczinski, who she lost to last season.

Susdorf used her powerful serve, decisive forehands and strong baseline smashes to win three matches by scores of 6-1, 6-0, 6-1 on Thursday.

"It's been pretty exciting," Susdorf said. "There's been a lot of tough matches. I think my whole game has improved a lot."

Another close match was between Hart No. 1 doubles team Emily Van Houdt and Ingrid Jeldreks and the West Ranch No. 3 team of Stacey Alabastro and Aimee Choi.

Van Houdt and Jeldreks won another match, 6-1 and lost 6-1 to True O'Neill and Mallory Martin.

Although the younger Wildcat team played nip and tuck most of the time, the Indians squad won the match, 7-5.

Last season, both Van Houdt and Jeldreks made it to the first round of the CIF-SS playoffs. They played with different doubles partners.

"Definitely conquering the net was important," Jeldreks said. "We kept it in play."

As the third-place team in the league, Hart will also get to play in the CIF team playoffs.

"We're going to field the best team we can," said Indians head coach Chris Mansfield. "It went down to the wire. Both teams had very good seasons."

West Ranch No. 1 player Ana Lucia Fuentes won two of her three matches, 6-3, 6-0. Gavelyn Poonnopatam won her matches after her loss to Susdorf, 6-0, 6-1.

In doubles play, the match of the day belonged to Hart's Stacy Wuang and Jessica Martinez.

The pair beat Wildcats Salene Scamardo and Olivia Ruiz, 7-6 (7-1). Wuang and Martinez also won 6-2 over WRHS' Karina Fricke and Choi.

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