By Nate Graham
For The Signal
As the Foothill League individual tennis tournament singles finals were about to get underway, there was a bittersweet atmosphere at the Paseo Club in Valencia.
West Ranch seniors Davey Woodland and Parker McBride were set to begin their third straight singles finals matchup in as many years.
“It’s hard to compare players,” said West Ranch head coach Erik Spiecker. “I have had a lot of exceptional singles players in my time, but these two have to rank near the top in terms of their investment to the sport.”
Woodland, the defending back-to-back Foothill League singles champion, got off to a slow start, going down 4-1 in the first set. He fought back, but lost the set 7-6 after forcing a tiebreaker.
Already up one set, the match took a turn in favor of McBride as Woodland went to the ground with a severe leg cramp. Although Woodland is a friend and teammate, McBride knew what he had to do.
“It definitely helped me out a lot,” said McBride. “I could tell he wasn’t able to move around nearly as well.”
Woodland fought through the injury but was unable to clinch the three-peat, losing another tiebreaker and losing in straight sets 7-6(4), 7-6(2) to give McBride his first-ever Foothill League singles title.
Not only are Woodland and McBride teammates and fierce competitors, they are childhood friends who have grown up playing tennis against one another since Kindergarten.
“I have wanted this for the past three years,” said McBride. “But it is tough going against one of my good friends.”
Across the walk was the men’s doubles finals, which featured a repeat of West Ranch versus Valencia. Valencia’s duo of Jackson Boxall and Stephen Thay were looking to repeat their title.
West Ranch sent out the duo of Aristo Turalakay and Jake Anderson, who defeated the former champs earlier in the year.
Turalakay and Anderson got off to a strong start, winning the first set 6-4.
The former champs would not go down easily, though, winning the next set in dominating fashion, 6-1, and finishing them off 10-4 in the third and final set.
Although the Valencia pair were the defending champs, they knew it would not come easy.
“We were definitely not expecting to win it all,” said Thay, a sophomore. “After the first set, we were just trying to push the net and make sure they had no way of catching us.”
The top two singles players and top two doubles teams from the league tournament move on to CIF-Southern Section play.
McBride and Woodland will each continue to CIF-SS individual sectionals as well as Boxall and Thay and Anderson and Turalakay.