Singles play leads Valencia girls tennis to victory over Hart

Valencia's Brenna Whelan returns a volley in a Foothill League matchup with Hart at Valencia High School Tuesday afternoon. Cory Rubin/The Signal
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The Valencia girls tennis singles players set the tone early on Tuesday, sweeping all three of their first-round opponents and drove the team to a 14-4 win to beat Hart at home on Tuesday and collect their second Foothill League win of the year.

“They were playing very aggressive and being very patient, which is really key when you’re playing singles,” said Valencia head coach Jackson Boxall. “You need to know when to strike and when to lay back and I think since they are doing those so well, we are getting the results that we want.” 

Valencia’s No. 1 and No. 2 singles players, Brenna Whelan and Sydney Thay, were the Vikings’ most dominant players of the day winning all three of her sets by a score of 6-0.

Sydney Tamondong, the Vikings’ No. 3 singles player, also swept all three of her sets. She dropped just four games, winning 6-1, 6-1, 6-2 on the day.

“Just being patient with ourselves, settling up the point and being confident when we go out,” Whelan said of the Vikings singles players’ abilities. “We all have the tools to go out and do well, it’s just about making sure that we come out confident and set up our points. I think we can do anything that we put our minds to.” 

Valencia’s Sydney Thay returns a volley in a Foothill League matchup with Hart at Valencia High School Tuesday afternoon. Cory Rubin/The Signal

Leaning on their doubles partners, Hart led in every set to begin the first round, but came away with just one win in the first round as the Indians No. 2 doubles team of Julia Hannah and Grace Howell defeated Valencia’s No. 2 doubles team of Ellie Wingo and Jonam Welinkar 6-3 to begin the day.

Hannah and Howell picked up their second and final win of the day in a close 6-4 win against Valencia’s No. 3 doubles team of Maddie Munana and sub Sarira Namavar, who came in to relieve JV call-up Nessia Dambal.

Hart’s No. 3 doubles team of Hannah Heiber and Melanie Ramirez defeated the Vikings’ Estrella Segura and Neha Humbe in one of the longest sets played all day long to win on a tiebreaker 7-2.

Valencia’s No. 1 doubles team of Ashley Villarta and Tiffany Recalde began the day on the wrong side of the match as they fell behind 4-3 early to Hart’s No. 1 doubles team of Cameron Schwartz and Lauren Neal.

The Vikings duo rebounded and fought their way back to force a tiebreaker and won 7-2. 

Villarta and Recalde won their following two matches by 6-1 scores and joined their teammates, singles players Whelan and Thay, as the only players to win all three of their sets.

The Vikings’ No. 2 doubles team of Wingo and Welinkar began the day with a first-round loss and found themselves in a familiar position in the second round against Hart’s No. 1 doubles team down 3-0 to begin.

“I just told them that they need to push up in the net,” Boxall said. “You need to make sure you are forceful in the net and being very aggressive because if you play laidback in doubles you are not going to get the results.”

Fighting back from a 5-2 deficit, Wingo and Jonam won five straight games and pulled off the win to collect their first and only win of the day.

The next opportunity for both teams to get another win will be on Thursday as Valencia travels to Golden Valley and Hart travels to Saugus. First serve will be at 3 p.m for both matches.

“Effort was definitely there. We were up in three sets in the very first round and we were close the whole way through,” said Hart head coach Allan Hardbarger. “Valencia was able to play a bit stronger on some important points, but it’s a good learning experience for us and hopefully we can get better for the next time when we see them.”

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