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Foothill League tennis: Title collectors

Valencia cleans up at Foothill League finals

Posted: May 4, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 4, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Valencia senior tennis player J.R. Macalutas returns a shot on Thursday during the Foothill League finals at The Paseo Club, Macalutas won the league’s singles title.

Valencia boys tennis , the Foothill League team champions, dominated the Foothill League individual finals at The Paseo Club on Thursday, with Vikings singles players and doubles teams finishing in the top six spots of the tournament.

While Saugus Tristin Thierry and Hart’s Tommy LaBat and Rohan Shankar earned spots in the semifinals, Thursday provided a forum for Valencia’s best players, who all but ran the table during the league season, to face each other.

“We have to feel great about our depth as a team, everybody brought their best today and it showed with all of the close matches,” said Vikings junior David Myers, who captured the league doubles title with partner Cameron Braun.

Five of Thursday’s eight matches went three sets, with Myers and Braun participating in two of those contests. While the tandem’s (3-6, 6-3, 6-3) and (6-1, 6-7, 6-1) performances were enough to clinch first place in league and a spot in the CIF-Southern Section individual playoffs on May 18, Thursday’s outings ruined their league run of perfection in set play.

Vikings senior J.R. Macalutas suffered no such setbacks, cruising past Thierry (6-3, 6-3) in the semifinals and then teammate Joey Fernicola (6-0, 6-2) in the final to capture the Foothill League singles championship.

“I know with J.R.’s departure I’ll have a lot of expectations to handle next season,” Fernicola said. “But I look forward to putting myself in more pressure situations and building my match savvy.”

The sophomore won’t have to wait until next season for pressure situations, as he will have to maintain the consistency he’s displayed all season for the Vikings to have a chance at a CIF-Southern Section Division II team title. Those playoffs begin on Wednesday.

Joining Fernicola and Macalutas in CIF-SS individuals is the Valencia doubles tandem of Jorriel Malabanan and Chad LeDuff, who at times looked as dominant as Myers and Braun in the league final.

“Jorriel is absolutely fearless at net, and Chad chases everything down and unleashes some brutal groundstrokes,” said Vikings head coach Annie Kellogg. “Both are speedy and neither refuse to let a ball go unchased. They have a great thing going for them.”

Vikings junior Chris Pope survived a (7-5, 7-5) marathon match with Thierry to capture third place, and his teammates Jonathan Ramirez and Sam Rebele put away Labat and Shankar to round out Thursday’s action.


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