West Ranch girls tennis claims sole possession of first place with win over Valencia

Chase Eisenberg of West Ranch competes against Valencia at Valencia on Thursday. Dan Watson/The Signal

The top two girls tennis teams in the Foothill League met on Thursday afternoon at Valencia High School, with both Valencia and West Ranch fighting to keep its undefeated league record intact.

The Wildcats were able to score four points in every round, leading to a 12-6 victory and sole possession of first place in the league.

“I’m really grateful that Valencia is as strong as they are because we want the Santa Clarita Valley to be strong as a whole, and it’s only going to help us both as we go into the postseason,”  said West Ranch head coach Dina McBride. “I’m so happy Valencia competed so well because it’s only going to make us stronger, it’s only going to make them stronger.”

West Ranch’s No. 1 Jordyn McBride once again led the way, winning all three of her sets by scores of 6-2, 6-0 and 6-0.

Brenna Whelan of Valencia competes against West Ranch at Valencia on Thursday. Dan Watson/The Signal

The No. 3 for West Ranch, Annette Robertson, was able to win two of her three sets, defeating Valencia’s No. 3 Neha Humbe 6-1 and Valencia’s No. 2 Sydney Thay 6-2. Valencia’s No. 1 Brenna Whelan was able to best Robertson 6-3 in the second round.

“After losing the match and her coming unglued a little bit, coming back and regrouping is a professional attitude, and that’s what we’re looking for,” McBride said of Robertson. “Giving up is not an option, making excuses is not an option. As a freshman, she’s going to get better and better. Each match she’s going to grow and compete hard and she’s going to try for every point. You can’t get better with excuses, everyone is going to have a good or bad day you just have to go out there and lay it on the line.”

The most captivating match of the first round happened on the doubles side, as the No. 1 team from West Ranch, Shaira Busnawi and Angelina Ciuffo, took a 5-1 lead over the No. 1 team from Valencia, Ashley Villarta and Sydney Tamondong.

Villarta and Tamondong battled all the way back to force a tiebreaker set and captured the win 7-6 (7-3).

West Ranch doubles team Angelina Ciuffo, left, and Shaira Busnawi compete against Valencia at Valencia on Thursday. Dan Watson/The Signal

The Vikings duo won all three of their sets, including another tiebreaker victory in the last round against West Ranch’s No. 2 team of Kayla Halberstam and Brooke Johnston.

“Everyone fought hard, all the matches were really close and every single point,” Valencia head coach Jackson Boxall said. “Even if the score did not reflect it, every game went to deuce and (advantages) and it came down to the final points. They showed a lot of firepower, every single point they go out there they have to believe in themselves and if they don’t believe in themselves, it’s going to show, and everyone here on this team believes in themselves.”

In addition to defeating Robertson, Whelan won her last set against West Ranch’s No. 2 Chase Eisenberg by a score of 6-2. Eisenberg snagged a point in the second round, defeating Humbe 6-0.

Thay was able to win her first set, defeating Eisenberg 6-1.

Sydney Thay of Valencia competes against West Ranch at Valencia on Thursday. Dan Watson/The Signal

West Ranch’s No. 3 doubles team was able to win two sets, starting first with Macy Muxlow and Allie Hinsley defeating Valencia’s No. 3 team of Ellie Wingo and Sydney Smith 6-3. Ashley Tonthat subbed in for Hinsley for the next two sets and they were able to capture a 6-0 victory in the third round.

The two teams will meet again on Oct. 24 at West Ranch High School to conclude the league season.

“We’re going to come up with some new strategies, especially in doubles because there were so many matches that were determined by just a couple of games,” Boxall said. “We have to be more aggressive at the net, but other than that, I think honestly if we face them like how we did today, I think we could possibly get them next time.”

There won’t be any matches on Tuesday, and league play will resume on Thursday, as Valencia is on the road against Canyon and West Ranch is at home against Saugus.

Match time is scheduled for 3 p.m.

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