Foothill League play began for girls tennis on Tuesday afternoon and Hart snatched its first league victory, defeating Golden Valley 12-6.
Hart played a well-rounded match, with its doubles teams dominating Golden Valley 8-1. Hart’s singles players struggled, losing 5-4, but the team still came out with the victory.
Indians head coach Allan Hardbarger was pleased with his team’s win, but said that the league is closer this year than it has been for quite some time.
“It’s really important to start out strong in this league because it’s very competitive,” Hardbarger said. “If we play Golden Valley tomorrow who knows who would win because they have a good team. Today we came up on top, but you can’t take any wins for granted in this league.”
Hart’s No. 1 doubles team consisting of Shannon Sindle and Emily Thompson dispatched Golden Valley’s No. 1 doubles team of Helene Sarpong and Kennedy Williams 6-2. They then went on to defeat the Grizzlies’ No. 2 doubles team 6-4 and the No. 3 team 6-3.
It was a strong performance from the Indians’ doubles teams, but Grizzlies head coach Josh Stimac believes his doubles squads need to be quicker to the ball.
“I saw my girls getting a little bit braver at the net, but I need to see them get a little bit more active in doubles,” Stimac said. “That’s the one area I’ve been trying to work on is to keep their feet moving in doubles. I saw spurts of that today, but I didn’t see consistent aggressive movement.”
Golden Valley’s singles players stepped up to earn the Grizzlies some points behind a spectacular performance from junior Justine Dondonay.
Dondonay won each of her three sets 6-0, beating Hart’s No. 1 singles player Mansi Sharma in convincing fashion.
“I think she definitely matches up with the No. 1 singles players in the league,” Sharma said after her match against Dondonay. “I think she can easily compete for the top spot.”
“I think my singles girls were playing just great with Justine dominating the field, obviously,” Stimac said.
Golden Valley’s No. 3 singles player Makayla Zareno was also able to earn a victory in her match against Hart’s Bella Cornejo 7-5, after fighting back from a 5-3 deficit.
“Makayla has very good strokes. It comes down to confidence for her,” Stimac said. “When you haven’t competed a lot, you tighten up for a while and you get looser and looser until you can get to use your full strength and she’s almost there.”
Sophomore Jaiden Goudy was the other Grizzly to earn a point, defeating Cornejo 6-2 in her third match of the day.
Despite the win, Hardbarger wants to see more consistency out of his team, especially if they want to compete with best that the Foothill League has to offer.
“We’ve got the aggression but our consistency needs some work,” Hardbarger said. “There are a few easy balls that we took our eyes off of. Everyone does it, but if we want to be an elite program, we’re going to have to cut that out and focus all the way through.”
Golden Valley will face West Ranch on its home courts on Wednesday. Hart will battle Valencia on Thursday in another home contest for the Indians. Both matches begin at 3 p.m.
West Ranch 18, Saugus 0
The West Ranch girls tennis team began its Foothill League title defense with a resounding 18-0 victory over Saugus.
West Ranch’s No. 1 singles player Jordyn McBride played only one set, defeating Saugus’ Emily Christensen 6-0 before retiring for the afternoon. Macy Muxlow took over for McBride, winning her two sets 6-0 and 6-3.
The Wildcats’ No. 2 singles player Chase Eisenberg won all three of her sets, dropping only three games in the process.
Valencia 18, Canyon 0
After finishing in second place in the Foothill League last year, Valencia began its quest for a title with an 18-0 win over Canyon.
In all nine doubles sets, the Vikings dropped only one game, beating the Cowboys 54-1 in total games.
The singles competition was hardly better for Canyon, which was able to only win a total of two games in the entirety of the nine sets.
The No. 1 singles player for Valencia, Amanda Tabanera, swept all three of her sets.