Golden Valley tennis defeats Canyon with league prelims on the horizon

Golden Valley's Makayla Zareno unleashes a forehand in a matchup with Canyon at Canyon High School Tuesday afternoon. Cory Rubin/The Signal

The Golden Valley girls tennis team picked up its second league win of the season on Tuesday, defeating rival Canyon 16-2 at Canyon High School.

Led by No. 1 singles player Justine Dondonay, who swept all of her sets, the Grizzlies didn’t lose a set in singles and carried a 12-0 advantage heading into the third round.

The Cowboys were able to snag two points in the final round as head coach Richard Bristow decided to change up his typical doubles teams. Amber Kashay, Emily Carrazna and Tianna Smith, who normally serve as the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 singles players respectively, all played in doubles on Tuesday.

“If something is not working, you got to try to change it up,” Bristow said. “For the girls, I think it added some excitement, something new, something different to try. I think they enjoyed it.”

While the Cowboys remain winless in league this season, their team is loaded with young talent that has Bristow believing his program is headed in the right direction.

MORE: West Ranch’s Jordyn McBride and Golden Valley’s Justine Dondonay highlight league match

“We’ve got a lot of freshman on JV and a lot of sophomores on varsity,” Bristow said. “We just have to develop them. They’re good kids and I think their attitude is in the right place. It’s a bright future.”

“All three doubles sets were super close. (Bristow’s) got girls who are in a match, in a tough position, but are fighting to the very end,” Golden Valley head coach Josh Stimac said about Canyon’s team. “That’s as much as you can ask. They’re great competitors.”

Golden Valley’s No. 2 singles player Jaiden Goudy won all of her sets 6-2, 6-0 and 6-4 and No. 3 singles player Makayla Zareno dropped only one game in her three wins.

Dondonay and the rest of the Grizzlies will face Saugus at home on Thursday at 3 p.m. to close out league play.

After league comes the prelims, which will be held at The Paseo Club in Valencia on Wednesday and Thursday of next week beginning at 11 a.m.

Canyon’s Amber Kashay stares down the ball in a doubles match with Golden Valley at Canyon High School Tuesday afternoon. Cory Rubin/The Signal

Dondonay will be competing against the other top players in the Foothill League including Jordyn McBride of West Ranch and Amanda Tabanera of Valencia.

“I’m excited to play for prelims and CIFs. Hopefully, I can get farther than I did last year,” said Dondonay, who was eliminated in the quarterfinals in the playoffs last year. “I just need to get prepared for those matches against Jordyn and Amanda because I know I’m going to see them soon. I think we’re all pretty equal skill-wise, so I think it’s just a matter of how I play them. Changing my game style and just being smart on the court.”

“I think she can play incredibly well on any given day. She’s very consistent, very focused. I think she will do well in the prelims,” Stimac said about Dondonay. “But there are some good players in league, so she’s got to stay focused and stay dedicated to every single shot and every single point that she plays.”

Canyon will have one last opportunity to register a league win on Thursday, facing Hart on the road. The match begins at 3 p.m.

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