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Foothill tennis: Something had to give

Posted: September 28, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: September 28, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Hart doubles players Bailey Sindle, left, and Lauren Dam congratulate each other on Thursday at Hart High.

The ball hit the net, then the Hart doubles team of Lauren Dam and Bailey Sindle embraced.

Then they shook hands with their Valencia opponents.

Then tears streamed down Dam’s face.

It was the clinching set in Hart’s 10-8 win over perennial Foothill League champion Valencia — the first Indians’ win over the Vikings since Oct. 26, 1999.

“I was crying. We went into this very tight. Every day in practice before this, we thought Valencia, Valencia, Valencia. Trying to gear up for the Valencia match,” Dam said. “There were a lot of nerves between the both of us. When we won, everything came out. I was really, really happy. They were tears of joy.”

How big was the win?

“It’s absolutely gigantic,” Sindle said. “Like Dumbo ears gigantic.”

The significance of the win is still to be determined because these two teams will play each other one more time.

But the Indians (7-2, 4-0) have not won a Foothill League title since 1998, and this victory makes them the absolute favorites to win a championship.

The match was as expected.

Hart’s strength is on its singles side, while Valencia’s is on its doubles.

On the far end of the tennis court, Hart’s Proyfon Lohaphaisan was beating Valencia’s Sabrina Wueste, while on the opposite side, Dam and Sindle were down 5-2 to Jennifer Ralston and Remy Balmain.

At that point, Hart was up 8-0 on singles and Valencia (12-4, 3-1) was up 8-0 in doubles.

Dam and Sindle then began their comeback — with Dam showing her strength at the net and Sindle working the backline.

By the time Lohaphaisan was done with a 6-1 victory, the Indians duo pulled even at 5-5.

Eventually they outlasted Ralston and Balmain.

“They have a singles lineup that just wouldn’t give today,” said Valencia head coach Annie Kellogg. “We made a few inroads, but it came down to who would crack first, their singles or our doubles. But I’m so proud of our girls. They played so hard.”

Valencia’s doubles team of Ashley Keith and Tina Inchalik (7-5, 6-0, 6-0) swept in doubles, as did Lindsey Wolf and Alekhya Bommireddipalli (6-2, 6-2, 6-0).

Dam and Sindle gave Keith and Inchalik a go in their 5-7 loss.

Hart’s singles were dominant, with sweeps from Jackie Resler (6-3, 6-1, 6-0), Natalia Munoz (6-2, 6-0, 6-3) and Lohaphaisan (6-3, 6-1, 6-0),

The Indians were beaming after the match.

The rematch, which could determine a Foothill League title will be Oct. 16.

Note: Longtime Valencia tennis supporter Jack Buss, a fixture at Vikings tennis matches over the years, died on Sunday at the age of 87. Valencia even named an annual tennis event after him — “The Jack Buss Challenge.” “He added a lot to the kids’ lives and them to his,” Kellogg said. Buss’ funeral is today at 12:30 p.m. at Forest Lawn in Hollywood.


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