Amanda Tabanera Carlotta Nonnis Marzano quickly developed a friendship once Nonnis Marzano joined Valencia through a foreign-exchange program to begin the school year.
That friendship developed into a valuable partnership on the tennis court, starting in the Foothill League finals.
The duo had served as two of the top singles players during Foothill League play. But when it came time for the finals, which determined the course of postseason play, Vikings coach Annie Kellogg paired them up. The decision had been made after watching them play together in a preleague tournament in October.
They certainly didn’t disappoint as a doubles team, advancing all the way to the CIF-Southern Section individual championships in late November, losing to Emily Ackerman and Chloe Bendetti of Oaks Christian.
It was the longest playoff run in Valencia’s history, and was the longest of any Santa Clarita Valley prep group in the individual portion of the CIF-SS postseason, according to Kellogg.
Tabanera and Nonnis Marzano’s dominance without much preparation led them to being selected as the All-SCV Girls Tennis Doubles Team of the Year.
“It was pretty crazy because all those matches leading up to the (CIF-SS individual) championship were pretty close,” Tabanera said. “We just had really good chemistry together. We knew each other’s strengths from watching how we did in singles.”
Tabanera took home the All-SCV Singles Player of the Year last season and once again had a superb year by her lonesome. Nonnis Marzano, a native of Parma, Italy, gave the Vikings arguably the best singles combination in the Foothill League. They only lost just four sets combined during league play, all coming to West Ranch’s Jordyn McBride.
“I don’t think we felt nervous about doing doubles,” Tabanera said. “We were both pretty comfortable with the idea. It was exciting.”
They displayed their dominance in the Foothill League finals, beating West Ranch’s Audrey Kim and Emily Andrews in the semifinals and Olivia Bloome and Nicole Alvarez in the championship.
Tabanera and Nonnis Marzano are both juniors, but it remains to be seen if they’ll have a chance at capturing Valencia’s first-ever individual CIF-SS title. Nonnis Marzano is heading back to Italy this week, but has expressed interest in coming back next year.
All-SCV Girls Tennis Doubles Team
Olivia Bloome, Nicole Alvarez, West Ranch
Bloome and Alvarez were unable to take a set from Nonnis Marzano and Tabanera in the Foothill League finals but played a crucial role in getting the Wildcats their second straight league title. They won all three of their sets in decisive fashion against Valencia on Oct. 13 (6-1, 6-3, 6-3), to help secure the league crown.
Audrey Kim, Emily Andrews, West Ranch
Kim and Andrews couldn’t oust Nonnis Marzano and Tabanera in the league semifinals, but swept all three sets against Valencia on Oct. 13 and picked up two set wins in the Wildcats’ win over Los Alamitos in the CIF-SS Division 1 tournament, the first team playoff win in program history.
Sarah Backer, Shannon Sindle, Hart
Backer’s singles play helped Hart place third in the Foothill League but paired with Sindle in the league finals. The duo lost to Kim and Andrews in the quarterfinals of the league finale, but won all three of their sets in the Indians’ wild-card loss to Burbank on Oct. 31.