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Foothill League boys tennis: It was all needed

West Ranch pulls off match that comes down to final set

Posted: March 30, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 30, 2012 1:55 a.m.

West Ranch's doubles team of Chris Gaw, left, and Jonathan Lee celebrates a win on Thursday at Hart High School.

 

The goal is always to rest injured players, hoping they heal in time for the next match.

But on Thursday afternoon, West Ranch and Hart boys tennis needed their players to heal on the court.

And in a match that came down to the final round on Thursday afternoon, West Ranch held off Hart to win 10-8 and take sole possession of second place in the Foothill League at Hart High.

Baron Von Kessler, who was hampered by a hurt back, swept three sets for the Wildcats (5-4 overall, 3-0 Foothill League), winning 6-1, 6-2, 6-0 in the No. 1 singles spot.

“He was questionable if he could go all three (sets),” said West Ranch head coach Eric Spiecker. “I was hoping we could rest him more.”

But with the Indians (6-4, 2-1) matching them set for set, that wasn’t an option.

“Obviously, every player that’s something has to play through injuries at any level, high school, college, pro,” Spiecker. “Hopefully he can heal while playing.”

But Von Kessler wasn’t the only one who was impressive.

“Anybody that won a set was a hero today and anybody that battled was a hero, because it was almost 9-9,” Spiecker said.

Kirill Lipa swept his three sets in the No. 2 singles spot, winning 7-5, 6-3, 6-2 for West Ranch.

In doubles, Chris Gaw and Jonathan Lee won two sets 6-1, 6-2 and the No. 2 team of Darian Ramirez and Connor Hope helped secure the victory with a 7-5 win in the final round.

But Hart overcame injuries of its own, and continued to push West Ranch until the final round.

The Indians’ Tommy LaBat was also playing through an injury, but managed to lead Hart to three wins (6-4, 6-3, 6-3) with teammate Rohan Shankar in doubles play.

“It was almost a battle against attrition for both teams,” Spiecker said.

In singles, Elliot Miller, Michael Lange and Brandon Dam each won one set to give Hart three singles victories.

“This was a chance,” said Hart head coach Chris Mansfield. “And it helped our kids to know they can compete at this level.”

In the end, though, Hart fell just short of what would have been an impact statement early in league play.

What both teams can be happy about though, is a chance to recover during the upcoming spring break, as neither team will return to the court until April 10 when Hart travels to Canyon and West Ranch hosts Saugus.

661-287-5530

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