It was a battle of the Foothill League girls tennis powerhouses on Thursday afternoon, as Valencia faced West Ranch in a match between the last two remaining undefeated league teams.
It was closely contested at first, but West Ranch pulled away after the second round to defeat Valencia 13-5 behind a strong performance from No. 1 singles player Jordyn McBride.
McBride won her first two sets against Valencia’s Maria Cedeno and Brenna Whelan 6-0, but a third round set against Amanda Tabanera was memorable to say the least.
After getting down early, Tabanera battled back to win three games against McBride, something no other player has done all season. It was McBride who ended up winning 6-3 in an emotionally-charged set that had onlookers gasping every time the ball was hit.
“For years and years it’s been West Ranch versus Valencia, so we always hype that up the most,” McBride said. “We’re very much rival school but it’s a friendly competition. Both teams get to excited to play each other.”
“It’s the town rivalry, like football for Valencia and Hart,” Vikings head coach Annie Kellogg said. “You hope it brings the best in you and it was fun. We had a lot of tiebreakers today and a lot of close matches. The girls played well and fought hard.”
As the final round was winding down, West Ranch’s No. 2 singles player Shaira Busnawi and Whelan were in a back-and-forth battle that captivated both teams and the crowd.
Busnawi was down 3-0 early, but fought back to force a tie-break and eventually won the set.
The entire Wildcats team was on the court cheering Busnawi on, something she thinks helped her overcome the early deficit.
“[Whelan] is a great player, but the fact that my whole team came out to support me was great,” Busnawi said. “It’s all about team spirit and I felt like I had a family behind me.”
Emotions were running high throughout the entire afternoon, something Busnawi attributes to the great competition the two schools have between them.
“Valencia overall is a really good team. Before we were winning league championships, they were the dominant school and it’s become a rivalry,” she said. “The whole energy and emotions on and off the court. I need to get better at controlling my attitude on the court, but it’s so emotional.”
The two teams will face off once more on Oct. 18 to close off league play.
Hart 16, Canyon 2
The Indians didn’t lose a set in doubles competition on Thursday afternoon on their way to victory.
Hart’s No. 1 singles player Mansi Sharma got an early rest after defeating Canyon’s No. 1 singles player Amber Kashay 6-4. Carly Wilkinson subbed in and won both of her sets 6-3.
Saugus 11, Golden Valley 7
Golden Valley’s No. 1 singles player Justine Dondonay swept all three of her sets but it wasn’t enough to hold off Saugus, who got strong performances from its doubles squads.
Recent transfer Maddie Wiseman played in her second match of the season for Saugus, sweeping her two sets against Makayla Zareno and Jaiden Goudy of Golden Valley.