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CIF playoff tennis: Vikes move on with ease

Doubles sweep as Vikes cruise to opening-round win

Posted: November 1, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 1, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Valencia doubles teammates Alekhya Bommireddipalli, left, and Lindsey Wolf compete against La Canada in a CIF-Southern Section Division II playoff match on Wednesday at Valencia. The Vikings won 16-2.

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From the beginning, Valencia girls tennis proved the aggressors in its CIF-Southern Section Division II first-round playoff match with La Canada at Valencia High School on Wednesday afternoon.

The Vikings doubles teams dominated at the net, sweeping nine sets and propelling Valencia to a 16-2 victory.

The win sets up a second round match Friday with either No. 3 seed and Century League No. 1 Canyon of Anaheim or wild card team South Hills.

“We definitely like to be aggressive at the net,” said Alekhya Bommireddipalli, who combined with teammate Lindsey Wolf to sweep three sets 6-1, 6-2, 6-3. “The first two sets, both teams moved back and (assistant coach Jen Azevedo) said, ‘You scared them away.”

The pattern was similar for the rest of Valencia’s doubles teams, as Ashley Keith and Tina Inchalik won two sets 6-2, 6-0 before substitutes Blaire and Morgan Meunitz defeated La Canada’s Emily Swanson and Serena Zheng, 6-3, in the final round.

Jenny Ralston and Remy Balmain swept 6-1, 6-1, 6-2.

“We played them before. We knew how good they were ...,” said La Canada head coach Will Moravec. “We don’t have the fire power like they do.”

The two teams met on Sept. 5 in a match that was called short due to rain, with the Vikings (17-4-1) winning 12-0.

La Canada finishes the season at 10-7.

In singles, the Vikings starters found similar results, as No. 1 singles player Brigitta Benitez won her two sets 6-0, 6-1. Sabrina Wueste won 6-2, 6-1, before substitute Amanda Braun won one set, 6-4. No. 3 singles player Katelyn Choi won two sets, 4-6, 6-3, 6-0, losing to Sawa Keymeulen.

Sharon Kim won the Spartans’ other set, 6-3, over sub Lauren Wolf.

The result was a familiar one for the Vikings, who were coming off consecutive victories over Hart on Oct. 16 and West Ranch on Oct. 18 to secure a co-Foothill League title with the Indians.

“At the end of the season, we’re the strongest we’ve been,” Lindsey Wolf said.

Now, as the Vikings move forward in the postseason, they know the competition will get more difficult in a hurry.

After Valencia and West Ranch found success in CIF-SS Division III, both reaching the semifinals over the past two years, the Foothill League was moved up to Division II this season.

But Valencia believes the tests it faced throughout the season will be enough to prepare it for what lies ahead.

“League was a tough battle with Hart and West Ranch. I think Hart should be one of the top seeds going into the playoffs,” said Valencia head coach Annie Kellogg. (We’ve) been tested, and we’ll go out and play the best we can. Everyone is improving. After two-and-a-half months of tennis, they’re improving tremendously.”

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