Golden Valley girls tennis earns first league win, Valencia, West Ranch remain unbeaten in league

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The Golden Valley girls tennis team defeated its rival Canyon on Tuesday afternoon 14-4, earning its first Foothill League win of the season.

The Grizzlies were led by No. 1 singles player Justine Dondonay, who did not drop a single game.

Golden Valley lost three sets in the singles competition but two of the losses were due to forfeits, as No. 2 singles player Jaiden Goudy was forced to retire in the second round because she was cramping up. With no subs available for the third round, Golden Valley was docked a set loss.

Grizzlies head coach Josh Stimac said that Goudy should be fine to play on Thursday when Golden Valley takes on Saugus.

The other singles loss came in the third round when Canyon’s No. 1 singles player Amber Kashay defeated Golden Valley’s No. 3 singles player Makayla Zareno 6-2.

Cowboys head coach Richard Bristow was pleased with Kashay’s performance and thinks the sophomore has much more room to grow.

“She’s definitely the future of our team and I’m excited to see her push herself a little bit,” Bristow said. “Our team is in rebuilding mode so she feels a lot of pressure on herself to do well. Hopefully she’ll be able to relax and keep growing as a player.”

Zareno was able to win her other two sets against Cowboys No. 2 singles player Emily Carranza 6-0 and No. 3 player Tianna Smith 6-3.

Stimac believes her ability to move quicker on the court has helped improve her game substantially.

“Her strokes have gotten more confident, but it really does start with her feet and right now in practice I’ve been harping on her to split step, take an early first step,” Stimac said.

“The temptation when you’re starting out in tennis is when someone hits the ball soft to you some people will run over with a slow jog and still hit the ball on the run. The reality is when the ball is hit soft, you sprint to where the ball is going to be, you set up, and then you take a cut. That’s what she’s been doing recently. That’s a better type of tennis.”

Zareno also has the unique opportunity to learn from one of the best players in the area in Dondonay, something she has taken full advantage of.

“It’s nice having Justine around because she helps me, she helps our No. 2 singles player,” Zareno said. “She gives us tips on how to play better and it’s great.”

In doubles play, Stimac used a new lineup of Helene Sarpong and Francise Morada as Sarpong’s usual partner Kennedy Williams sat out due to a back injury.

The new duo lost only three games in their three sets.

“They played pretty well together,” Stimac said referring to Sarpong and Morada. “They were comfortable with each other, they complemented each others games, so I’m going to keep that one together.”

Stimac will evaluate Williams at practice on Wednesday but is hopeful that she’ll be available for the match on Thursday. If she plays, she will likely be paired with Evelyn Kong.

Golden Valley’s match against Saugus begins at 3 p.m. on Thursday at Saugus High School. Canyon will be looking for its first league win of the season, facing Hart at home in the same time slot.

West Ranch 13, Hart 5

The Wildcats’ No. 1 singles player Jordyn McBride swept all three of her sets and West Ranch did not lose a singles set in its victory over Hart on Tuesday.

The Indians earned their five points in the doubles competition, with their No. 2 team of Jennifer Russell and Stefani Woll winning all three of their sets, including a close 7-6 win against the Wildcats’ No. 1 doubles team of Audrey Kim and Emily Andrews.

Valencia 15, Saugus 3

Valencia’s No. 2 singles player Brenna Whelan did not lose a game while helping lead her team to victory on Tuesday.

The Vikings did not lose a set in the doubles portion and will go on to face West Ranch on Thursday in a battle of the two remaining undefeated Foothill League teams.

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