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Foothill League boys tennis: Valencia set early tone

Vikings defeat rival West Ranch

Posted: March 21, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 21, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Valencia’s No. 2 single player Joey Fernicola hits a return against West Ranch on Tuesday at Valencia High.

 

What had been the Foothill League’s most competitive boys tennis matchup turned into a surprisingly one-sided affair.

Valencia defeated West Ranch 18-0 on Tuesday at Valencia High School in the Foothill League opener for both teams.

“I saw focus for all 18 sets, and you have to have that,” said Vikings head coach Annie Kellogg.

The Wildcats (2-4, 0-1) lost a lot of starters to graduation and were playing without No. 1 singles player Baron Von Kessler, who’s day-to-day with inflamed joints and muscles in his back.

But head coach Eric Spiecker wasn’t interested in making excuses.

“We came up against a really solid team that was match-tough,” he said. “Teams that are match-tough take advantage of the opportunities they have.”

The Vikings (6-3, 1-0) did just that, with No. 1 singles player J.R. Macalutas losing just one game as he swept 6-1, 6-0 and 6-0. Chris Pope also swept in the No. 3 singles spot by scores of 6-3, 6-0 and 6-1.

Valencia took all nine sets in doubles, including a sweep by No. 3 squad Ronit Ghosh and Jon Ramirez.

“We’re so confident because we have so much depth right now,” Ghosh said. “We’ve played tough competition.”

In the past, the competition came from West Ranch, which has finished second in league five years in a row. The Wildcats only fielded one starter from last season on Tuesday, senior Kirill Lipa.

Lipa played No. 1 doubles against Valencia, and he and his partner Brandon Min won four games in their set against Ghosh and Ramirez. On the whole, West Ranch’s doubles played Valencia tough on the afternoon.

According to Spiecker, this was the first time in program history the boys had lost without winning a set.

Valencia will host Hart at 3 p.m. Thursday, while the Wildcats host Golden Valley at the same time.

Valencia’s annual Spring Smash will take place on Saturday starting at 8 a.m. after being postponed due to rain last week.

Ghosh said that while the team is happy with the Foothill League opener, the players can’t let it linger.

“Every day is a new day,” he said.

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