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All-Santa Clarita Valley boys tennis: Valencia's Chad LeDuff

Posted: June 15, 2013 9:06 p.m.
Updated: June 15, 2013 9:06 p.m.

Valencia sophomore Chad LeDuff emerged as the top player in the Santa Clarita Valley during his second season of varsity competition.

Given Valencia’s dominance over the rest of the Foothill League in recent years, the team’s best singles player should naturally be honored.

But it isn’t a default award to call Valencia sophomore Chad LeDuff The Signal’s 2013 All-Santa Clarita Valley Boys Tennis Singles Player of the Year.

He fully earned it.

LeDuff dispatched each and every competitor he faced in league play, going 25-0 in sets against Foothill opponents.

After that, he rolled through the Foothill League individual tournament without any trouble. He won all four matches of the tournament in straight sets by scores of 6-0 or 6-1, concluding with a 6-1, 6-0 victory in the championship match against fellow Valencia player Joey Fernicola.

Up until that match, Fernicola had lost only one set in league play.

It wasn’t just that LeDuff was the best singles player in the league. He seemed to be several steps ahead of everyone else.

That included talented Hart singles players Elliot Miller and Brandon Dam, along with Golden Valley’s top player, Brandon Yu.

Overall this season, LeDuff finished with a 41-8 record in sets.

Valencia head coach Annie Kellogg said Miller’s dominance reminded her of former Viking Tyler Gottshall, who remains the only Santa Clarita Valley player to go to an NCAA Division I college tennis team straight out of high school.

Although the success of Gottshall (currently at Loyola Marymount University) in high school took a similar path as LeDuff’s, Kellogg also said the two played very different styles.

While Gottshall played a finesse game, LeDuff relies on his power, which especially comes through in his forehand and serve.

And LeDuff’s rapid improvement from his freshman to sophomore year indicates he has plenty of upside.

He earned a spot in Valencia’s varsity doubles lineup as a ninth grader and after one offseason of training and playing a heavy dose of United States Tennis Association tournaments, LeDuff returned in the spring as the clear frontrunner for No. 1 singles.

The season that ensued proved why he was deserving of such a coveted position.

And it also showed why he was worthy of this honor.



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