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Prep tennis: Ready for reset

West Ranch beats Louisville with new, young group of players

Posted: September 5, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: September 5, 2012 1:55 a.m.

The West Ranch doubles team of MacKenzie Lyle, left and Amanda Wilkinson, right, react during a match against Louisville High on Tuesday at West Ranch High School.

 

Even after everything West Ranch girls tennis accomplished the past two seasons, the theory this year is simple.

“It’s a clean slate,” said senior doubles player Amanda Wilkinson.

Though few players return from last year’s impressive roster, the new-look Wildcats looked just fine in a 13-5 win over Louisville High of Woodland Hills on Tuesday at West Ranch High School.

Wilkinson and her doubles partner MacKenzie Lyle, two of the team’s three returning starters, paced a strong showing for West Ranch’s doubles lineup with their set victories of 7-5, 6-0 and 6-2.

In all, West Ranch (1-1) won eight of nine doubles sets and added a respectable five in singles.

Two of those wins came from the team’s third returning player, sophomore Julia Lynch, who won 6-1 and 6-0 from the No. 1 singles spot.

“We’ve got great players this year,” Lyle said. “We have some great players from a younger generation basically, so we’re set for the next two or three years.”

It will be a little different for the Wildcats after winning the last two Foothill League titles and advancing to the CIF-Southern Section Division III semifinals in each of those seasons.

Now, West Ranch along with the rest of the league is competing in the more competitive Division II.

On top of that, the Wildcats have lost many of their top players to graduation and other various reasons.

“I feel confident in who our players are and what they can do,” said West Ranch head coach Eric Spiecker.

That includes players like Lynch, whose only loss on the day came in a 6-2 final against Royals No. 1 singles Hannah Garcia-Park.

Garcia-Park swept her three sets.

Other than that, the West Ranch sophomore coasted.

That’s exactly what the team will need from her as she takes over the spot vacated by Ana Cecilia Fuentes, a senior who decided not to return this season.

“There’s really, really big shoes to fill because Cecilia was an amazing player and she was an amazing No. 1,” Lynch said.

On the doubles side, West Ranch also picked up three wins from the team of Hana El Arabi and Ahra Cho, who beat Louisville (0-1) by scores of 6-0, 6-1 and 6-4.

It was the kind of performance West Ranch might need from its doubles teams.

“We have the players to perform at a high level, but we’ll have to wait and see,” Spiecker said. “Today was a great barometer for us.”

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