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Wildcats tennis earns respect

West Ranch girls tennis wins first-ever playoff match

Posted: November 11, 2008 10:17 p.m.
Updated: November 12, 2008 4:55 a.m.

West Ranch High's No. 1 doubles True O'Neill returns the ball to Paso Robles opponents as teammate Mallory Martin watches.

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Call it vindication, call it a victory.

The West Ranch girls tennis team, which finished second in the Foothill League but landed in the CIF-Southern Section Division III wild card bracket, proved it deserves respect as the team won its first-ever post season match with a Tuesday victory against Paso Robles.

The Wildcats defeated the Bearcats 14-4 at home.

When West Ranch head coach Eric Speicker saw the draw and that his team had been placed in the wild card slot, he was baffled.

"I felt like my girls worked hard and deserved more," Speicker said.

The Wildcats dominated Paso Robles by sweeping in the singles draw.

West Ranch's singles players did not allow the Bearcats to score more than three games in any match.

"West Ranch was just too tough for us," said Paso Robles head coach Laura Clowes. "This is a really good team."

Sophomore Ana Lucia Fuentes, West Ranch's No. 1 singles player, swept 6-0, 6-0, 6-0.

"We were kind of nervous coming into this match," Fuentes said. "But we really came together and got ourselves pumped up. We did very good."

Fuentes has been a significant factor in the Wildcats' success this season. The burgeoning star finished as the No. 2 player in the Foothill League.

"It's great to have a singles player who can come in here and compete with anyone," Speicker said of Fuentes.

Now, West Ranch sets its sights on the division's No. 1 seed, Valencia of Placentia.

Speicker has not compiled his game plan yet, but said he will have to get creative in order to compete with the Tigers.

Nonetheless, he's confident in his team's ability to remain contenders, specifically citing the play of Fuentes and the No. 1 duo of True O'Neill and Mallory Martin, who also swept in Tuesday's match.

"At some point when we needed it, someone stepped up," he said.

After two consecutive CIF-Southern Section Division IV championships, Valencia of Placentia was moved up to Division III at the start of the 2008 season.

Fuentes is well aware that a victory over the Tigers will be tough.

"We have to play our best and give our best effort," Fuentes said. "We can not make mistakes and believe that we can win and give it our all."

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