Hart doubles players Cameron Schwartz, left, and Sarah Backer discuss strategy during the match against Saugus at Hart on Thursday. Dan Watson/The Signal
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As if there wasn’t already enough on the line Thursday at Hart High, a meal also hung in the balance.

Hart High coach Allan Hardbarger and Saugus High coach Ken Jeffris used to coach together.

A friendly wager only seemed natural.

The Indians took a step toward a third-place finish in the Foothill League with a 10-8 win, and Hardbarger earned a lunch in the process.

“I’ll have to remind him about that,” said Hardbarger, who used to coach the varsity at Saugus when Jeffris was the junior varsity coach.

After coaching against each other during boys tennis season, Hardbarger had to treat Jeffris.

Now it’s the Saugus coach’s turn to pay after Hart’s doubles teams won seven of nine sets and its singles came through with three wins.

Hart's Ariana Mantilla competes against Saugus at Hart on Thursday. Dan Watson/The Signal
Hart’s Ariana Mantilla competes against Saugus at Hart on Thursday. Dan Watson/The Signal

Hart is now alone in third place of the Foothill League standings with a 4-3 record. Saugus is 3-4.

The Indians pairing of Shannon Sindle and Zoe Morris swept their sets, 6-3, 6-1, 6-0.

They said Hart (6-6 overall) was well aware of what was on the line entering the match after the Indians had beaten Saugus just 11-7 earlier in the year.

“It was really important for us to win this match,” Sindle said. “We really want to go to CIF. We’re really fighting for the spot.”

Was the buildup more excitement or nerves?

“Both,” said Morris.

She said the nerves came from the first matchup being so tight. But the Indians started to relax a little as they built a relatively comfortable lead.

The doubles teams of Sarah Backer and Cameron Schwartz; and Rachael Nivichanov and Zoe Witherspoon each won two sets.

Hart’s Emily Thompson competes against Saugus at Hart on Thursday. The Indians went on to win 10-8. Dan Watson/The Signal
Hart’s Emily Thompson competes against Saugus at Hart on Thursday.
The Indians went on to win 10-8. Dan Watson/The Signal

So did singles player Mansi Sharma.

Senior Megan Cho led Saugus (4-8 overall) with three 6-0 wins.

“We’re getting better,” Jeffris said. “We started five freshmen. They’re getting better. They’re improving. They looked better today than they did last week.”

West Ranch 18, Canyon 0

Nicole Alvarez, Una Stanisavljevic, and the pairings of Dani Hettinger and Brittany Waugh; and Audrey Kim and Emily Andrews all swept three sets.

West Ranch is 13-2 overall and 7-0 in league. The Cowboys are still looking for their first win in league.

Valencia 15, Golden Valley 3

Amanda Tabanera won three sets 6-0 for Valencia (10-6, 6-1). So did the doubles pairing of Ahanti Bommireddipalli and Vasvi Mongia.

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Mason Nesbitt
Mason Nesbitt is The Santa Clarita Valley Signal's Sports Editor.
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