Vikes’ Tabanera, Cats’ duo win Foothill tennis titles

By Mason Nesbitt

Last update: Thursday, October 27th, 2016

Three games.

Not three sets. Certainly not three matches.

Valencia High sophomore Amanda Tabanera dropped three measly games through all four rounds of the Foothill League girls tennis individual tournament this week on her way to the singles title.

She capped the dominating display of tennis wizardry Thursday at the Paseo Club of Valencia with a 6-0, 6-0 win over No. 1 seed Jordyn McBride of West Ranch.

Tabanera pinpointed forehands and backhands on this line and that in what Valencia coach Annie Kellogg called a “magical” performance.

“Amanda was totally in the zone,” Kellogg said.

Tabanera lost two sets to McBride during the Foothill’s regular season. Both on windy days, she didn’t serve particularly well. That wasn’t the case Thursday.

She had the normally spunky West Ranch freshman on her heels from the get-go. McBride said afterward she felt the pressure of being expected to win rather than playing as the underdog, as she had earlier in the year.

Jordyn McBride of West Ranch returns a hit Thursday.  Dan Watson/The Signal
Jordyn McBride of West Ranch returns a hit Thursday. Dan Watson/The Signal

Still, there was some consolation, she said, in becoming one of the league’s two representatives in next month’s CIF individual tournament.

A semifinal win provided no such comfort to West Ranch doubles player Quinterra Walter-Eze.

“No, I want to win. I don’t care I’m going to CIF,” Walter-Eze said. “I need to be going to CIF in first place.”

Now, she is. Walter-Eze and Cori Raffish, the tournament’s No. 1 seed, beat teammates Brittany Waugh and Dani Hettinger in the final, 6-3, 6-3.

Both duos will join Tabanera and McBride at CIF Individuals next month.

Tabanera got there by winning all of eight of her sets 6-0 except for a 6-3 win over West Ranch’s Nicole Alvarez in the semifinals.

McBride swept her way through Tuesday’s two rounds and then battled Saugus’ Megan Cho in the semis.

Two Foothill League coaches described it as the best they’ve seen Cho play, but McBride prevailed, 6-2, 6-3.

Cori Raffish, left, and Quinterra Walter-Eze of West Ranch compete Thursday.  Dan Watson/The Signal
Cori Raffish, left, and Quinterra Walter-Eze of West Ranch compete Thursday. Dan Watson/The Signal

Then, in the final, the magnitude of the moment might have gotten to her.

“If I played again, I would play how I usually do — just have fun with it,” McBride said. “Today I wasn’t thinking, ‘Have fun.’ I was thinking, ‘Everybody expects you to win.’”

Despite the two losses to McBride in league, Tabanera did beat the freshman in the final of Valencia’s Fall Brawl tournament. She said logistics might have made the difference.

“When I played her in league, I played her right off the bat,” Tabanera said. “I probably should have had a warm-up set before.”

Thursday, everyone was hoping to cool Tabanera down.

It never happened.

Notes: Alvarez beat Cho for third place. West Ranch’s Audrey Kim and Emily Andrews beat Valencia’s Taylor Cohen and Nicole Stefani in the doubles third-place match.

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Vikes’ Tabanera, Cats’ duo win Foothill tennis titles

Amanda Tabanera of Valencia tracks down a hit at the Paseo Club of Valencia on Thursday in the singles final of the Foothill League individual tournament. Dan Watson/The Signal

Three games.

Not three sets. Certainly not three matches.

Valencia High sophomore Amanda Tabanera dropped three measly games through all four rounds of the Foothill League girls tennis individual tournament this week on her way to the singles title.

She capped the dominating display of tennis wizardry Thursday at the Paseo Club of Valencia with a 6-0, 6-0 win over No. 1 seed Jordyn McBride of West Ranch.

Tabanera pinpointed forehands and backhands on this line and that in what Valencia coach Annie Kellogg called a “magical” performance.

“Amanda was totally in the zone,” Kellogg said.

Tabanera lost two sets to McBride during the Foothill’s regular season. Both on windy days, she didn’t serve particularly well. That wasn’t the case Thursday.

She had the normally spunky West Ranch freshman on her heels from the get-go. McBride said afterward she felt the pressure of being expected to win rather than playing as the underdog, as she had earlier in the year.

Jordyn McBride of West Ranch returns a hit Thursday.  Dan Watson/The Signal
Jordyn McBride of West Ranch returns a hit Thursday. Dan Watson/The Signal

Still, there was some consolation, she said, in becoming one of the league’s two representatives in next month’s CIF individual tournament.

A semifinal win provided no such comfort to West Ranch doubles player Quinterra Walter-Eze.

“No, I want to win. I don’t care I’m going to CIF,” Walter-Eze said. “I need to be going to CIF in first place.”

Now, she is. Walter-Eze and Cori Raffish, the tournament’s No. 1 seed, beat teammates Brittany Waugh and Dani Hettinger in the final, 6-3, 6-3.

Both duos will join Tabanera and McBride at CIF Individuals next month.

Tabanera got there by winning all of eight of her sets 6-0 except for a 6-3 win over West Ranch’s Nicole Alvarez in the semifinals.

McBride swept her way through Tuesday’s two rounds and then battled Saugus’ Megan Cho in the semis.

Two Foothill League coaches described it as the best they’ve seen Cho play, but McBride prevailed, 6-2, 6-3.

Cori Raffish, left, and Quinterra Walter-Eze of West Ranch compete Thursday.  Dan Watson/The Signal
Cori Raffish, left, and Quinterra Walter-Eze of West Ranch compete Thursday. Dan Watson/The Signal

Then, in the final, the magnitude of the moment might have gotten to her.

“If I played again, I would play how I usually do — just have fun with it,” McBride said. “Today I wasn’t thinking, ‘Have fun.’ I was thinking, ‘Everybody expects you to win.’”

Despite the two losses to McBride in league, Tabanera did beat the freshman in the final of Valencia’s Fall Brawl tournament. She said logistics might have made the difference.

“When I played her in league, I played her right off the bat,” Tabanera said. “I probably should have had a warm-up set before.”

Thursday, everyone was hoping to cool Tabanera down.

It never happened.

Notes: Alvarez beat Cho for third place. West Ranch’s Audrey Kim and Emily Andrews beat Valencia’s Taylor Cohen and Nicole Stefani in the doubles third-place match.

Mason Nesbitt

Mason Nesbitt

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