The 23rd annual Valencia Fall Brawl took place on Saturday, Sept. 22, with West Ranch coming out on top in both the singles and doubles brackets in the eight-team girls tennis tournament.
Jordyn McBride didn’t drop a single game on her way to the title, defeating Valencia’s Brenna Whelan in the finals. Whelan defeated Chase Eisenberg of West Ranch 8-3 in the semifinals, who ended up finishing in third place.
West Ranch’s senior doubles team of Audrey Kim and Emily Andrews were equally impressive, sweeping their first two matches then defeating Valencia’s Kirsten Kieu and Sydney Tamandong 8-1 in the third round. They then beat their own teammates sophomores Shaira Busnawi and Brooke Johnston 8-3 to capture the doubles crown.
Valencia head coach Annie Kellogg started the Fall Brawl more than two decades ago to promote tournament play, particularly for those players who don’t normally have the opportunity to participate in USTA tournaments or other major events.
“Most of our players aren’t tournament players and we really try to encourage some of our local kids to go out and play some tournaments,” Kellogg said. “Also, it’s a lot more fun to be out there with your team. That was my original motivation and it’s still my motivation.”
Tournaments differ from head-to-head matches because it adds a sense of urgency to each set.
If you lose a set in a head-to-head match there is always the second and third round. If you lose a set in a tournament, you’re out.
“The cool thing about the tournament is there is some real immediate consequences,” Hart head coach Allan Hardbarger said. “In a tournament every point is critical. You look for how the girls are going to respond in tight situations.”
Hart’s Mansi Sharma lost her first set 8-3 to Valencia’s Maria Cedeno, but went on to win her next next three sets to capture the top prize in the consolation bracket, defeating Riley Johnson of Quartz Hill 6-4.
Hardbarger was impressed with his No. 1 singles player, who was able to break through in a tightly contested final.
“She played against [Johnson] who hit a heavy ball with good movement. The match was close the whole way through, but at the very end Mansi was able to put the ball in the corner a few more times,” Hardbarger said. “She won a trophy and we were so proud of her.”
Alyssa Alvidrez and Kenna Henderson of Saugus won the consolation bracket in the doubles portion, defeating Mindy Mello and Roselyn Uy of Golden Valley 8-4 in the final.
Joining the six Foothill League teams in the tournament were St. Bonaventure and Quartz Hill.
Foothill league play resumes today as West Ranch faces Hart, Canyon takes on Golden Valley and Saugus plays Valencia. All matches begin at 3 p.m.