Traveling south for their opening round CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoff match, the West Ranch boys tennis team faced off against Valencia of Placentia on Wednesday.
Beginning the match a little slow, the Wildcats couldn’t really get anything going, falling to the Tigers 17-1.
“I think everyone played well,” said West Ranch head coach Jackie Resler. “I think that we started off a little slow, but after the first game, we started to get the hang of things. Everyone is nervous because it’s the first round of CIF, but after the first couple games, everyone started to loosen up a little more.
“I think every boy in this competition fought really hard. It’s not fun when we lose like this, but I can see that they all fought really hard. What more can I ask for if they all did their best?”
Valencia of Placentia, the second-place finisher in the Empire League, took advantage of the early nerves that the West Ranch players started the match with and built an early lead.
West Ranch’s No. 2 singles player Alec Robertson earned the lone point for the Wildcats, defeating Valencia/Placentia’s No. 3 singles player.
Falling in the previous round, Robertson calmed down and used the loss as motivation to come back and earn a point for the Wildcats.
“He was making more shots in, stayed calm and relaxed,” Resler said. “He knew what he needed to do to win. He refocused after the first loss and let the past go and he used that energy and motivation to win the next round.”
West Ranch doubles player Rohan Ramrattan came back from an injury and stood his ground after not playing for over two weeks due to a back injury.
“I knew that he and his partner, Connor Schloemer, would have played really well during prelims,” Resler said. “For him to come out today, not having played for about two weeks and have to play in the first round of CIF, it’s not easy. I think he did a really great job of standing his ground.”
Resler, who is in her first year as the Wildcats’ head coach, was disappointed with the loss but thinks that there is a lot gain from the second-place Foothill League finish.
“I think everyone has potential,” Resler said. “When I first came in as a coach I was nervous and I wanted to make sure I provided for the boys and taught them the right things. Not just sportsmanship, but that they can be good tennis players and I think that running drills and giving them more confidence and more positive feedback helped them a lot.
“I enjoy being with the boys and I got to learn a lot about what it means to be a first-year coach. I think I know what to do to next year and I still think I have a lot to learn as a coach, but this was definitely an amazing season in my first year.”