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CIF tennis: On schedule

Vikings continue dominant with 15th straight victory

Posted: May 10, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 10, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Valencia’s No. 3 singles player Chris Pope returns a shot in a CIF-Southern Section Division II playoff match against South Hills on Wednesday at Valencia High. The Vikings won 15-3 to advance to the second round.

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Valencia tennis cruised to a second round berth in the CIF-Southern Section Division II playoffs with a 15-3 win over South Hills of West Covina on Wednesday at Valencia High.

“At this point I think we are used to the pressure that’s been put on us,” said Vikings sophomore Sam Rebele. “It’s just really exciting being part of a team that we all feel is poised for a special run.”

Compounded by the No. 3 tandem’s impressive outings at last week’s Foothill League tournament, Rebele and teammate Jonathan Ramirez’s 6-1, 6-2 showing on Wednesday reinforced Valencia’s strength at the back end of the lineup.

“We have a rough draw ahead of us so it’s going to get a lot harder from here,” said Vikings head coach Annie Kellogg. “The later you get into playoffs the bigger your No. 3s become.”

Valencia’s (20-3) reliable one and two’s J.R. Macalutas and Joey Fernicola each captured two sets before Kellogg elected for substitutes, Vikings unsung No. 3 Chris Pope swept 6-0, 6-2, 6-0.

“There’s not really much to say other than these guys were just really good,” said South Hills (14-6) head coach Pete Weber.

“We had an idea of what we were up against, but our strength is in singles and these guys (Valencia) handled us.”

In doubles, Vikings Cameron Braun and David Myers swept 6-0, 6-1, 6-0 while teammates Jorriel Malabanan and Chad LeDuff captured two sets 6-0, 6-1 before being substituted.

The Vikings, who have spent the better half of the past three months breezing past their competition, will face a major test on Friday when they take the road to Burbank to face Burroughs in the second round.

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