Valencia High girls tennis lost a crucial Foothill League match to West Ranch High last month, but the Vikings didn’t give up on the season. They made minor adjustments and will get another shot at the Wildcats on Oct. 18.
Vikings senior Kate Zeile had to make a more dramatic adjustment to keep her season alive after she found out last week a bone was fractured in her right hand.
She’s now playing left handed, like she did Monday in Valencia’s 14-4 loss to San Marino at Valencia High.
“Her forehand is pretty good because she had a two-hander backhand,” said coach Annie Kellogg, adding she’s never had a player make such a switch in her 20-plus years of coaching. “Her forehand feels pretty natural, but the backhand is a work in progress.”
Zeile, a 2015 All-Santa Clarita Valley singles players, showed toughness as a junior, too. She tweaked her ankle in the Vikings’ CIF-Southern Section Division 2 semifinal but hobbled to a doubles win with teammate Lindsey Gollom.
The Vikings ultimately lost the match 9-9 (79-76 in games), but the semifinal appearance coupled with a CIF title the year before boosted Valencia up to Division 1 this season.
San Marino, which is receiving votes in the latest Division 1 poll, provided a litmus test Monday of just how tough the playoffs could be for Valencia.
The Titans swept in singles.
Both the Titans and the Vikings (10-7) were playing without their No. 1 single. Valencia’s Amanda Tabanera had returned Monday from a tournament in Las Vegas.
Valencia’s pairing of Vasvi Mongia and Ahanti Bommireddipalli won two sets in doubles, 6-3 and 6-1. They seem to be gaining steam as one of the Foothill League’s top duos dating back to their runner-up finish at Valencia’s Fall Brawl late last month.
“Last time we played West Ranch, we didn’t play together,” said Bommireddipalli. “Now we’re more in a groove with our partners. We know how to complement each other’s games. That goes for everyone, all the doubles teams.
We’re smoother now.”
West Ranch beat Valencia 13-5 on Sept. 22. Zeile left the match after two rounds due to an apparent wrist injury. Kellogg said the diagnosis of a fractured hamate in Zeile’s right hand came last week.
She played one set left handed against Golden Valley last week, losing 3-6. She lost her three sets Monday, but she earned the respect of San Marino’s coach.
“That, to me, shows she loves tennis,” said Melwin Pereira. “… to me, as a coach, that’s really nice. I don’t hear that much.”
Valencia’s No. 3 doubles team of Christina Fletcher and Gollom won two sets, 6-2 and 6-2.