Vikings, Wildcats dominate doubles in Foothill League girls tennis prelims

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On Wednesday afternoon, Sydney Tamondong was visibly emotional after securing a spot in the Foothill League doubles semifinals.

“I’m so excited,” the sophomore said. “Honestly, it’s just a great experience to actually make it to the second day, the finals, and I couldn’t be more proud at this one moment.”

Tamondong and her doubles partner, Ashley Villarta, beat Hart’s Cameron Schwartz and Josie Wondra in a tiebreaker in the quarterfinals. The Vikings pair came out on top by scores of 4-6, 6-6, 10-7 at the Paseo Club.

On the winning play, Tamondong went for a hit at the front of the net that was too short for either Schwartz or Wondra to get to.

“You want to be more aggressive at the net, that’s the big thing we focus on here,” Tamondong said. “So you know you’re doing it right when you get most of your points from the net because it means you’re being aggressive and it means you’re doing what you’re supposed to do.”

The doubles pair has been working together for a little over half a season. Villarta, who was in the semifinals for doubles last season as well, said she was excited at the opportunity to work with Tamondong.

The tandem is part of a tough corps of doubles players at Valencia. In addition to Villarta and Tamondong, Brenna Whelan and Sydney Thay are also advancing to the semifinals after beating Golden Valley’s Kennedi Williams and Evelyn Kong 6-1, 6-0.

“I’m still speechless about everything,” Villarta said. “I think our doubles play totally improved. We can, I feel like we … we can go to CIF and we’re capable of doing that. If we get back together and regroup and remember what’s right and what’s wrong.”

West Ranch is also sending two doubles teams to the semis.

Shaira Busnawi and Angelina Cuiffo beat Hart’s Julia Hannah and Grace Howell in the first round 6-0, 6-0 and then beat fellow Wildcats doubles team Ashley Tonthat and Kayla Halberstam 7-6 (7-5 tiebreaker), 6-1 to move on to the quarterfinals.

To fill out the doubles semifinals, West Ranch’s Chase Eisenberg and Brooke Johnston beat Valencia’s Tiffany Recalde and Jonum Welinkar 6-1, 6-2 in the first round before beating Saugus’ Emily Belcher and Abby Bolks 6-1, 6-2.

The Foothill League semifinals will be at Paseo Club starting at 11 a.m. on Thursday.

Ahead of the second day of the Foothill League finale, Villarta is feeling confident in herself and Tamondong’s abilities, but also wants to focus on having fun.

“Having fun is the most important thing,” she said. “If you don’t have fun, then why are you playing? To have fun, keep it going, be aggressive, really aggressive because we’re playing West Ranch and that’s our rival. “We should just stay aggressive ad have fun.”

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