The Valencia girls tennis team improved to 2-0 in Foothill League play this season with a 17-1 victory over Hart on Thursday afternoon.
While the Vikings trailed in several sets, they were able to fight back to win every set on the afternoon, except for one.
“I switched out doubles teams a little and they started out down a little, but what I loved is they were really resilient and fought back,” said Valencia head coach Annie Kellogg. “Fighting hard from behind. A lot of sets we were behind, but they finished off strong.”
“We had quite few competitive sets out there. We have something to build on,” said Hart head coach Allan Hardbarger. “We had the lead in quite a few sets, but we just didn’t quite have it. We weren’t ready to put them away.”
The lone Vikings loss came in a match between Hart’s No. 2 singles player Cameron Schwartz and Valencia’s No. 3 singles player Angela Hanton, in which Schwartz won 7-5 in a back-and-forth affair.
Schwartz had just come off a 6-3 loss to Valencia’s No. 1 singles player Amanda Tabanera, but she put up a fight, even taking a 3-2 advantage at one point.
“I had a rough start today, but getting a couple games off Amanda is a confidence booster,” Schwartz said. “Being captain, I’m trying to show my team that it is possible.”
Kellogg was impressed with freshman Maria Cedeno and promoted her to the No. 2 singles player today after she started the season as a doubles player for the Vikings.
Cedeno defeated Hart’s No. 1 singles player Mansi Sharma 6-4, the No. 3 singles player Bella Cornejo 6-3 and Schwartz 6-0.
“I had Maria play a little bit of singles at the Golden State Classic at Stanford this past weekend,” Kellogg said. “She’s got wheels and loves to strike the ball. She’s very talented.”
While Hardbarger was pleased with the way his team was returning tough serves and hitting big shots, he thinks the consistency was simply lacking today.
“Our shotmaking is great but maybe our placement could be a little bit better,” Hardbarger said. “Also our consistency, but that comes with practice and the more matches we play the better we’re going to be.”
Hart will have the opportunity to play Valencia once again on Tuesday, Oct. 9, a rematch the Indians are already looking forward to.
“Valencia is a good team. Luckily we’ll see them again in a few weeks,” Hardbarger said. “Hopefully we can do a little bit better.”
In the meantime, Hart will play in the First Serve Tournament in West Torrance on Saturday. Valencia will be playing in the tournament as well.
While the tournament will bring about good competition for the Indians, they know they still have a ton of work to do.
“Practice, practice, practice. We need more consistency,” Schwartz said, echoing her coach’s sentiment. “Anything we messed up today, figure it out and fix it so we can go into league stronger next week.”
Hart’s next league match will take place on Thursday, Sept. 20 at Saugus. Valencia will play Golden Valley at home that same day. Both matches begin at 3 p.m.