With the conclusion of the preleague schedule, the Foothill League girls tennis teams are set to kick things off and begin league play on Tuesday.
West Ranch took home its second straight Foothill League title in 2017 and will look to make it three in a row as head coach Dina McBride returns the Foothill League singles champion, Jordyn McBride, and a plethora of returning varsity players that will look to make the feat reality.
Sophomore Shaira Buswani and junior Chase Eisenberg figure to be the No. 2 and No. 3 singles players for the Wildcats.
“Both of them are so good that I don’t want to name either one ahead of the other,” Dina McBride said. “They are interchangeable and two of the strongest players on the team.”
No. 1 doubles team, seniors Audrey Kim and Emily Andrews, each have four years of experience that will bring a lot of consistency and leadership to the Cats.
The No. 2 doubles team of Brooke Johnston and Angelina Ciuffo look to do some damage on the court as well.
“That would be so amazing if we could three-peat,” Dina McBride said. “We just have to play tennis, be solid and not get ahead of ourselves. Take one game at a time and play the match that is in front of us.”
Last season’s second-place finisher, Valencia, brings back their No. 1 singles player in Amanda Tabanera for her fourth varsity year. Along with Kayla Cohen, Brenna Whalen and Ashley Villarta, as well as incoming freshman Maria Cedeño, the Vikes will offer a lot of talent in the singles and doubles matches.
“We are still trying to figure out the rotation but we have so much talent on the team that wherever we need points, we will plug the girls in, whether that be at singles or doubles,” said Valencia head coach Annie Kellogg.
The Centurions return Emily Christensen as the No. 1 singles player from last year as well as Emily Belcher and add transfer Maddie Wiseman from Alemany, who figures to be the No. 3 and No. 2 singles players behind Christensen.
“Last year we were almost all sophomores. This year we are starting juniors that have more experience,” said Saugus head coach Ken Jeffris. “We are pretty much returning the same team, we are older and more experienced.”
No. 1 doubles team of Abby Bolks and Alyssa Alvidrez are as solid as any doubles team while the vastly improved doubles team of Katie Denzin and Kenna Henderson will provide some stability for Saugus.
“It’s going to take a super effort from all the players,” Jeffris said. “The Foothill League is tough and at the top is West Ranch so we are going to have to dig down and play our best.”
Starting out the 2018 season a perfect 4-0, Hart girls tennis looks to improve on their third-place finish from a year ago.
With returning No. 1 singles player Mansi Sharma heading the Indians’ attack along with No. 2 singles player Cameron Schwartz, who brings consistent play and accuracy, the Indians should be competitive in every match.
“(Sharma) is a gritty player that gets a lot of balls back and is willing to play in long rallies no matter the conditions,” said Hart head coach Allan Hardbarger.
The No. 1 doubles teams Shannon Sindle and Emily Thompson, who both played with different partners last year, have begun the season going undefeated at 9-0 and will finish out their senior season playing together for the Indians.
“I think in order to take league we would need to play some very strong doubles and be very aggressive,” Hardbarger said. “Our singles players don’t match up with the highest level of talent at West Ranch but with our grit and tenacity we can beat anyone.”
Golden Valley, which is coming off a 17-1 win over Moorpark on Aug. 30, will be much improved in 2018 as No. 1 singles player and Bishop Alemany transfer, Justine Dondonay, will add some aggressive, but skillful, play.
Canyon is ahead of schedule in 2018 as they have already matched their win total from last year with an early-season win against Lancaster. The Cowboys will look to rebound from a 0-10 Foothill League season as they open up league play hosting Valencia today at Canyon High School at 3 p.m.
Hart will host Golden Valley at Hart High School at 3 p.m. while Saugus will travel to the defending champions, West Ranch, with their game also set to begin at 3 p.m.