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CIF girls tennis: Individuals give a fight

Local players’ seasons come to end in CIF playoffs

Posted: November 19, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: November 19, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

The Foothill League’s best girls tennis players traveled to Carpinteria on Friday to take part in the CIF-Southern Section Individual playoffs.

League champion West Ranch, which saw its team season come to an end Thursday in a CIF-SS Division III semifinal loss to Sage Hill, was well represented with singles player Ana Cecilia Fuentes and the doubles team of Gabrielle Morici and Lena Poonnopatam.

Morici and Poonnopatam faced the No. 1 doubles team from Windward High in the first round, dispatching the duo 6-1, 6-1 to achieve their goal of moving on to the second round.

In that second round, the West Ranch duo fell 4-6, 0-6 to Santa Barbara High’s No. 2 doubles team, in a match that saw the Wildcats take an early 3-0 lead before Santa Barbara came storming back.

“It was surprising,” Morici said, “because we didn’t think we would make it past the first round. Our goal was to make it to the second round, but we didn’t think we would make it. We’re really proud of that.”

In the match, Santa Barbara used a combination of skill and strategy to force the Wildcats out of the game they like to play – something they were able to avoid through most of Foothill League play.

“Everything that had been working all season long wasn’t working,” Morici said. “We got stuck playing their game.”

For the valley’s other doubles team in the tournament, Valencia’s Shenelle Trujillo and Michelle Savage, the results were similar.

The Vikings, who qualified as the No. 1 team from the Foothill League after defeating Morici and Poonnopatam in the finals of league prelims, received a first-round bye before defeating Oxnard’s Mollie Hedberg and Denise Schafer 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (8-6) in the second round.

“(Savage and Trujillo are) always good,” said Valencia head coach Annie Kellogg. “They play well under pressure. They’re smart players.”

Said Trujillo: “We didn’t expect to go super, super far. But winning that first match was satisfying and it was a tight match so we were proud.”

In the third round, though, Santa Barbara High ended another Santa Clarita Valley school’s season.

This time it was Santa Barbara’s No. 1 doubles team of Megan Grant and Madison Hale, which won 6-1, 6-3 over the Vikings.

“You’re playing the top 32 (teams) and 64 kids in Southern California,” said Kellogg of why the challenge of getting past the third round of play is so high.

In singles play, the valley’s top player this season, junior Rebecca Ho of Golden Valley High, saw her day end earlier than she would have liked in Carpinteria.

After her opponent forfeited in the first round, Ho found herself matched up with Megan Menasse of Mira Costa High in the second round.

Ho, who had lost only one set all season, lost 6-1, 6-0.

Fuentes, who qualified after losing to Ho in the finals of league prelims, suffered a similar result, losing in the first round to Britta Molla of Malibu High 7-5, 6-2.

The day marked the end of a successful season for the Foothill League, which saw Fuentes, Morici and Poonnopatam lead the Wildcats to their first undefeated regular season in school history.

Savage and Trujillo helped lead a Vikings team that was thought to be in a rebuilding season, to second place.

And Ho became the first girls tennis league champion in Golden Valley history.

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