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Strategy to tame Tigers doubles misfires

Posted: November 24, 2008 10:26 p.m.
Updated: November 25, 2008 4:55 a.m.
CLAREMONT - The strategy for Valencia against its namesakes from Placentia on Monday was simple.

Go for the nine-point sweep or a near-sweep of the Tigers' solid doubles teams. Then hope No. 1 singles player Isabella Fraczek can somehow win two or possibly three matches, all against ranked opponents.

The plan led head coach Annie Kellogg to do something she did not do all season.

It was entirely out of necessity.

The Vikings decided to move senior Thalia Wilczynski, normally their No. 2 singles player, into to the No. 3 doubles spot to play with Andrea Zammit.

The idea was to have the new duo sweep through three matches, and somehow have twin sisters Emily and Clarice Fraczek win at least two out of their three matches.

"If we could sweep doubles and if Isabella could get one win, that'd equal 10 points," said Vikings head coach Annie Kellogg. "All of our scouting reports were to attack their doubles. Their doubles were very steady."

It just didn't happen, in a 13-5 loss that saw the Valencia doubles lose 5-4 to Valencia of Placentia. Wilczynski and Zammit won their first-round set 6-4 over the Tigers' No. 3 team of Prayerna Uppal and Amelia Yates.

The next two, especially the second-round match, did not work out.

Crystal Lee and Paulina Tran took the fight to the Vikings.

Zammit hit into several unforced errors. Wilczynski used her two-handed power forehand to smash some winners, but would cancel those out with hits long and into the net.

She had not played with Zammit in match play before.

A 2-all tie turned into a stunning 5-2 blowout and a 6-3 win, with confidence clearly on the side of the Tigers. Sophomores Felicia Hsu and Larissa Yates also handed it to Wilczynski and Zammit, 6-2.

"I felt a little out of my element," Wilczynski said. "Usually I play in doubles in my tournaments, but playing for your school is different."

Combine those two losses with two blown leads by other doubles teams, and the strategy was shot.

Emily Fraczek and Amanda Jansson allowed a 5-1 lead in the No. 1 doubles matchup turn into defeat in a tiebreaker, 7-6, (7-3).

Clarice Fraczek and Eunice Pack allowed a 3-0 lead to evaporate, in a 6-4 loss. Pack and Fraczek won a set 6-1, but lost two out of three after a 6-3 loss to Hsu and Yates.

"I feel like there was pressure to be a leader," Wilczynski said. "We got too nervous. We were counting on doubles to sweep."

Meanwhile, the Tigers' singles players allowed only a loss to Viking Isabella Fraczek. Leaving Wilczynski in her singles spot may not have meant more than one victory out of three matches.

According to the Web site, all three players for Valencia (Placentia) were ranked among the top 75 in California.

All three Fraczek sisters were ranked in the mid-80's.
The entire season, Wilczynski had dominated in most of her singles matches.

But in Monday's finals, the new duo didn't mesh.

"It was my worst season," Wilczynski said. "I didn't focus as much as I did in the past. I was a little burned out with school and tennis."

But Valencia had opportunities.

"They're young," Kellogg said. "They needed to step up to the plate. They had weaker kids on their teams, we just didn't take advantage of it."


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