West Ranch starts league title campaign with win over Saugus

West Ranch's Jordyn McBride returns a volley in a Foothill League match with Saugus at Saugus High School Thursday afternoon. Cory Rubin/The Signal

The start of Foothill League action in girls tennis found the defending league champions West Ranch at Saugus on Thursday afternoon.

The Wildcats got off to a blazing start, sweeping the first round and taking the match 17-1 to begin their campaign for a fourth straight league title.

With the strong start, West Ranch head coach Dina McBride was afforded the opportunity to bring in some of her substitutes early. 

The Wildcats’ roster is loaded with talent, which can sometimes be an issue because McBride wants to get all her players as much time on the court as possible. Albeit, it’s a good problem to have.

“I wish there was more spots because everyone deserves a spot to play every single match,” McBride said. “I have such great depth that it’s tough to choose what teams are going to be out there. I have so many options.”

Saugus’ Emily Christensen returns a volley in a Foothill League match against West Ranch at Saugus High School Thursday afternoon. Cory Rubin/The Signal

West Ranch’s No. 1 singles player Jordyn McBride played one set, defeating Saugus’ No. 1 singles player Emily Christensen 6-0, before being subbed out for Nicole Augusta. 

Augusta won both of her sets, defeating Saugus’ No. 2 Maddie Wiseman 6-3 and No. 3 Natalie Ratzlaff 6-4. 

Ratzlaff trailed 2-5 at one point in her set against Augusta, but never gave up and fought back to keep it close, a theme the Centurions hope to carry with them through the season. 

“That’s our plan, keep getting better and better, finish league strong and get into the playoffs,” said Saugus head coach Ken Jeffris. “Like you saw today, they don’t back down from the competition. They might not be as skilled a some of their opponents, but they battle.”

“They totally have revamped their team in the last three years through parent support, the coach, the girls wanting to be better,” McBride said of Saugus. “They’ve gotten better in competition. I see them taking that third spot in league or even more.”

West Ranch’s Ashley Tonthat returns a volley in a Foothill League match with Saugus at Saugus High School Thursday afternoon. Cory Rubin/The Signal

Christensen won the lone point for Saugus, defeating West Ranch’s No. 3 Ashley Tonthat 6-4 in their second set.

“She has improved quite a bit, their coach was very complimentary of her strokes, saying she’s an accomplished player,” Jeffris said of Christensen. “We’re proud of Emily and what she’s accomplished.”

Tonthat, who will also be featured in doubles this season, showed resilience and displayed her wide-ranging talents in her set against Christensen. 

Tonthat won her first set 6-1 against Ratzlaff and was subbed out for Avery Salin in her last set.

“Ashley has been coming on strong. She won three sets with Brooke (Johnston) at Harvard-Westlake, they were my only doubles team that won three,” McBride said. “She’s very versatile, she can play singles and she can play doubles.”

West Ranch’s Chase Eisenberg returns a volley in a Foothill League match with Saugus at Saugus High School Thursday afternoon. Cory Rubin/The Signal

Chase Eisenberg, who was the No. 2 for West Ranch on Thursday, dropped just three games in her three wins: 6-1, 6-0 and 6-2.

West Ranch’s doubles teams swept the board, going 9-0. Shaira Busnawi and Angelina Ciuffo played as the No. 1, Johnston and Kayla Halberstam as the No. 2 and Allie Hinsley and Macy Muxlow as the No. 3.

Saugus will be back home on Tuesday against Canyon and West Ranch will face Golden Valley at home. Both matches are scheduled to start at 3 p.m.

Hart 13, Golden Valley 5

Hart defeated Golden Valley in the league opener for both teams behind a strong performance from its singles players.

The Indians lost just one set in singles. Hart’s No. 1 Cameron Schwartz lost only three games in three sets, going 6-0, 6-3 and 6-0. Bella Cornejo, Hart’s No. 2, won her sets 6-2, 6-0, 6-3. Andee Bates won two sets 6-4, 6-0 and lost one set to Golden Valley’s No. 1 Makayla Zareno 0-6.

For the Grizzlies, their No. 2 doubles team of Mindy Mello and Roselyn Uy won all three of their sets 6-1, 7-6 and 6-4. 

Hart will play Valencia on the road on Tuesday and Golden Valley will be at West Ranch.

Valencia 18, Canyon 0

New Valencia head coach Jackson Boxall earned his first league win in dominating fashion as the Vikings lost just six total games in 18 sets. 

Freshman Sydney Thay, Valencia’s No. 2, swept all three of her sets and No. 1 Brenna Whelan lost just one game on the afternoon. Sydney Tamondong, who played as the No. 3 for the Vikings, also lost just one game.

Valencia’s No. 1 doubles team of Ashley Villarta and Tiffany Recalde did not lose a game.

Canyon will look to rebound against Saugus on the road on Tuesday and Valencia will be home to face Hart.

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