The Valencia boys tennis team clinched the Foothill League title on Thursday, defeating the previous four-time champions West Ranch 10-8 on Thursday at home.
The Vikings defeated the Wildcats 11-7 in their previous matchup, and will vie to remain undefeated in league as they close out the season next week.
It was a special moment for Valencia, particularly the seniors, who have been close to winning the title the previous three years, but fell just short.
“It was amazing for them. They’ve heard the legend but they’ve never been a part of it,” Valencia head coach Jen Azevedo said about her five seniors. “For these guys to get a league champ board, to make it their own. A lot of them were calling some of our alumni today saying, ‘Guys we did it, we’re back.’ It’s really exciting for those guys. They worked so hard for three years and came close so many times.”
The Vikings started the first round hot, winning 5-1 behind a strong performance from No. 1 singles player Gabriel Chavez, who defeated West Ranch’s No. 1 Charlie Spina 6-0.
Valencia’s No. 2 Ian Cho was able to dispatch West Ranch’s No. 2 Alec Robertson 6-4 and freshman Aditya Patki, serving as the No. 3 for the Vikings, defeated Michael Ponto 6-3.
“The three doubles and three singles that we struggled with last time, we were able to take this time, so that helped a lot in the beginning,” Azevedo said. “Gabe was awesome and Aditya, a freshman in that three spot, he was great. He did really well.”
Brent Lim and Ellis Bosarge were able to win a set and Matthew Young and Jason Tumbokon also won a set to give the Vikings five points on the doubles side.
Eduardo Cedeno and Stephen Thay, Valencia’s No. 1 doubles team, took care of business throughout the afternoon, dropping just five games in their three set wins.
“Last time it felt like our singles really carried the day and this time it was balanced. We got five in singles and five in doubles,” said Azevedo.
Even the doubles sets that Valencia lost were close, as Lim and Bosarge fell to Connor Schlomer and Rohan Ramrattan 7-5 and lost to Jacob Jun and Chad Tarr in a tiebreaker, 7-6 (7-5).
Spina rebounded after his first set loss to win his next two against Cho and Patki. Robertson was able to defeat Chavez in the last set 6-4.
“Jackie’s been phenomenal, I really respect her as a coach,” Azevedo said about her West Ranch counterpart. “Even knowing it’s her first year out there, she has a lot of poise and I think she brings a lot to that team.”
While Valencia’s top guns took care of business today like they have been doing all season, Azevedo praised her squad for their total team effort.
“Today was really team. The first time we played them there was a lot of, thank goodness for Gabe, thank goodness for Ian and thank goodness for Eduardo and Stephen. Those guys were definitely impacts today, but getting sets from other people today was a big deal,” she said. “I think it’s a nice a thing to go into the end of the league and upcoming to prelims and Ojai and the postseason. Having these other guys make an impact today I think is exciting.”
Valencia will square off against Saugus on Tuesday on the road and West Ranch will take on Hart on the road. Both matches begin at 3 p.m.
Hart 16, Canyon 2
The Indians won all nine sets in doubles on their way to a commanding victory over the Cowboys on Thursday on the road.
Hart was looking for a 9-0 finish on the singles side, but Ashton Millner, who had subbed in for Hart’s No. 1 Luke Papayoanou, was forced to retire midway through his set against Canyon’s No. 2 Braden Bowers after injuring his ankle.
Subsequently, Hart forfeited the last set after running out of subs.
Jax Liescheidt, Hart’s No. 2, lost only four games on the afternoon, defeating Canyon’s No. 1 Jessie Lara 6-2, Bowers 6-1 and Canyon’s No. 3 Humberto Reyes-Reid 6-1.
The Indians’ No. 3 Tanner Spendlove also won all three of his sets, defeating Lara 7-6 (7-4) in a tiebreaker.
Serving as Hart’s No. 3 doubles team, Spencer Kline and Alex Sutton lost just three games in their three set wins. The duo of Jeremy Killian and Jack Burns, the No. 1 doubles team for Hart, lost just five games on the afternoon.
Hart’s No. 2 doubles team of Justyn Friedler and Scott Rankin defeated Canyon’s No. 1 doubles team of Aidan Kutcher and Reese Johnson 7-6 (10-8) in a tiebreaker.
Hart will face West Ranch and Canyon will play Golden Valley on Tuesday. Both matches will start at 3 p.m.
Golden Valley 9, Saugus 9
In an exciting matchup that was tied 6-6 and 54-54 in games after the second round, the Grizzlies edged the Centurions by three games, winning 86-83.
Golden Valley, which was without its usual No. 1 Dylan Yu due to illness, captured one win on the singles side with No.3 Logan Detwiler defeating Saugus’ No. 1 Andrew Belcher 7-5.
Saugus No. 2 and No. 3 singles players Matthew Schwartz and Lawrence Lam won all three of their sets. Schwartz and Lam both defeated Golden Valley’s No. 1 Kian Ilagan by a score of 7-5.
The Grizzlies won eight of nine sets in doubles, with the No. 1 team of Javier Gonzalez and Chris Guerra losing a total of seven games in their three sets wins.
Noah Van Norman and Aarya Sharma, the Cents’ No. 3 doubles team, earned the only doubles win for Saugus, defeating the Grizzlies’ No. 2 team of Andrew Oh and Eric Kim in a tie-break set 7-6 (7-3).
Golden Valley will look for back-to-back league wins, taking on Canyon on the road on Tuesday. Saugus will try to rebound against Valencia at home. Both matches are slated for 3 p.m.