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Foothill tennis: Title goes to deuce, Valencia wins share of league

Valencia wins 10th league crown in 11 years

Posted: October 19, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: October 19, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Valencia singles player Sabrina Wueste stares down her shot during a match on Thursday against West Ranch at West Ranch High School.

In years past, the matchup between Valencia and West Ranch girls tennis at the end of the regular season was played for all the marbles.

Yes, Thursday’s contest was similar in many ways to past matchups. It was contentious and emotional and one of the teams came out of it with a Foothill League title.

But in this rivalry, rarely has one team dominated to such a degree that Valencia did in its 16-2 win at West Ranch High School.

With the victory, Valencia (17-4 overall, 9-1 Foothill) clinched a share of its 10th league championship in 11 years, tying Hart in the final standings after knocking off the Indians by a narrow two-game margin after tying 9-9 in sets on Tuesday.

“It was a really focused week,” said Valencia senior Ashley Keith. “This week was basically what this whole season was about. Everything we worked for came down to this week.”

Keith and doubles partner Tina Inchalik won sets by scores of 6-1, 6-1 and 6-2, which helped Valencia sweep all nine sets in doubles.

Fellow Valencia doubles team Jenny Ralston and Remy Balmain swept 6-0, 7-5, 6-1 and Alekhya Bommireddipalli and Lindsey Wolf won three easy sets, 6-0, 6-1, 6-1.

When the same two teams met on Oct. 3, Valencia won just four of nine doubles sets in a 12-6 victory, making Thursday’s results a major improvement.

“I think we just have some of the most dominating doubles teams and all three of our teams are fabulous,” said Valencia head coach Annie Kellogg.

Meanwhile, the Wildcats (9-5, 6-4) finished third place after winning the last two Foothill crowns and advancing to the CIF-Southern Section Division III semifinals in each of those seasons.

With a top three finish in league, West Ranch still gets an automatic playoff bid.

“They played well and we can play better and that’s all I’ll say,” said West Ranch head coach Eric Spiecker.

In singles Noor Makan won a set 6-3 and teammate Julia Lynch recorded a 7-6 win for West Ranch’s only two victories on the day.

Valencia No. 1 singles player Brigitta Benitez won three sets 6-0, 6-1, 6-0 and Sabrina Wueste followed suit, winning 6-1, 6-3, 6-1.

“I think they really built off their confidence from Tuesday’s (win over Hart) and they just really went out on fire, all of them,” Kellogg said. “That was just a great win for us to consolidate what we did on Tuesday.”

Last season, Valencia lost both of its matches against West Ranch, including one by a single game after playing to a 9-9 tie.

On Thursday, the Vikings got the upper hand.

“It was do or die so we couldn’t just cruise through this game,” said Valencia senior Jenny Ralston.



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