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West Ranch tennis takes hold of Foothill League

Posted: May 1, 2014 10:32 p.m.
Updated: May 1, 2014 10:32 p.m.

West Ranch's Harrison Collins hits a forehand against Valencia's Joey Fernicola on Thursday at Valencia High.

 

After the West Ranch boys tennis team defeated Valencia 12-6 and denied the Vikings their ninth straight Foothill League title on Thursday at Valencia High, the Wildcats gathered around senior Harrison Collins and sang “Happy Birthday.”

What a birthday present it was, not just for Collins, but for the entire Wildcats team as they finish as league champs with a perfect 10-0 record.

“The guys worked really, really hard and I’m just glad for them to see the fruits of that work. I’m proud of them for it,” said West Ranch head coach Eric Spiecker. “They feel fulfilled. We respect Valencia. They’re a good team.”

That’s an understatement considering the Vikings have been untouchable in the Foothill League for the better part of a decade.

But the Wildcats had their number this year, ending Valencia’s Foothill League winning streak at 75 matches in their first meeting of the season and grabbing the league title in the second.

The Wildcats jumped out to an early 5-1 lead after the first round of sets thanks to all three doubles teams winning and 6-0 wins by Collins and Noah Morrow on the singles side.

Valencia (15-3, 8-2) gained a little ground in the second round, winning three sets to make the score 8-4, but the Wildcats finished strong with four wins in the final round to clinch the match.

Doubles play was key again for West Ranch as it took seven of nine sets. The No. 2 team of Jonathan Y. Lee and Brandon Oh was the only one, in singles and doubles, to sweep its sets for the Wildcats. The duo won its sets 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.

The No. 3 team of Logan Boute and Quincy Walter-Eze were in close set after close set, winning its first two 6-3, 7-6 (7-5 tiebreaker) before dropping its final set to Sam Rebele and Ravi Jayanthi 7-6 (7-5).

Chad LeDuff was the only Viking to sweep his sets (6-0, 6-0, 7-5) but had to work for the last one. He and Collins battled back-and-forth before LeDuff was finally able to finish the set.

“(West Ranch) is just a great team,” said Valencia head coach Annie Kellogg. “They’ve got some great young talent and some seniors that have a lot of experience and that showed. I feel like we went down to a team that deserved to win. They worked hard and put in the time and they backed it up today.”

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