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Hart and Saugus girls tennis battle to the finish, West Ranch and Valencia stay undefeated in league

It was a tightly-contested match at Saugus High School on Thursday afternoon, as the Saugus girls tennis team battled Hart from start to finish.

Saugus’ No. 1 singles player Emily Christensen won all three of her sets, but it wasn’t enough to hold off Hart, which won the match 10-8.

Indians’ No. 1 singles player Mansi Sharma won a crucial set against the Centurions’ No. 2 singles player Emily Belcher to close out the second round, giving Hart a 7-5 advantage heading into the third round.

Sharma’s win seemed to give Hart an extra boost of motivation entering the final round.

“I think any time we’re in a close match, there are defining moments,” Sharma said. “So when you win it shows your whole team that we can do it and we have the power to win the next round. I think my teammates were definitely motivated.”

Hart and Saugus split the last six sets which resulted in the 10-8 final score.

Despite the loss, Saugus head coach Ken Jeffris was proud of the way his team competed and believes they have a shot at beating Hart the next time the teams meet in a few weeks.

“They came out here and played hard today. There was some adversity, but we fought through it,” Jeffris said. “I know these girls know that they can compete with this team and we look forward to our revenge match.”

For Hart, the victory gives them a 2-1 record in league play and an inside track to make it to the CIF-Southern Section playoffs.

Indians head coach Allan Hardbarger knew the magnitude of the match coming in and how tough it would be against an up-and-coming Centurions team.

“It was a very big win. We know Saugus has been getting better and we’ve had some good matches with them in the past,” Hardbarger said. “It was hard coming onto someone else’s courts, and coming out with the win. It’s big for us.”

“This was one of our closest matches and we were hoping that this would end up a win,” Sharma added. “We definitely have a chance at CIF and with this win we feel more secure in our position.”

With the loss, Saugus falls to 1-2 in league play and will look to rebound against Golden Valley on Thursday, Sept. 27.

Hart will play in the Fall Brawl tournament this weekend at Valencia before facing West Ranch at home on Tuesday, Sept. 25.

Valencia 17, Golden Valley 1

Valencia’s No. 1 singles player Amanda Tabanera faced off against Golden Valley’s No. 1 singles player Justine Dondonay on Thursday, with Tabanera coming out victorious 7-6.

None of Valencia’s doubles squads lost a set, with the No. 2 doubles team of Ashley Villarta and Maria Cedeno dropping only two games in their three wins.

West Ranch 18, Canyon 0

The Wildcats were on fire on Thursday, sweeping the Cowboys with ease.

West Ranch lost only six games in total the entire afternoon with its doubles squads dropping only a single game.

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