West Ranch and Valencia doubles teams end season in Round of 32

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The CIF-Southern Section Round of 32 was unkind to the Foothill League as doubles teams from West Ranch and Valencia were both eliminated from the postseason on Tuesday.

The Wildcats’ Chase Eisenberg and Brooke Johnston lost to Brentwood’s Sammy Wadler and Sydney Lichtenstein 7-5, 4-6, 4-6. 

“Every single point was really long and every game was really long,” Johnston said. “I don’t think there was a single game that was 40-love or anything like that. They would get back everything so we had to really get them out of their strike zone and comfort zone in order to win the point.”

The pair scored points when Johnston hit the ball high to her opponent’s backhand, which forced them to hit it back high and primed for an overhead shot for Eisenberg.

Johnston and Eisenberg also were able to use different formations to pressure Wadler and Lichtenstein and force them to make quick decisions to get to the ball. 

Johnston added that all of Eisenberg’s serves were hard and she played aggressively. It was Eisenberg’s last match as a senior and Johnston, a junior, comes back for another season next year.

“She fought so hard and I’m really proud of her and she made West Ranch history as her last game playing for West Ranch,” Johnston said. “I think that’s pretty cool and she should be really proud of herself and I’m excited to hopefully make it to CIF again next year.”

Nerves weren’t much of an issue for Johnston, even though it was a long match. She and Eisenberg had even made a special handshake to help calm down when they encountered challenges.

“We just jumped around when we were feeling nervous and we remembered what we were doing when we had the momentum and tried to repeat that,” Johnston said.

Brenna Whelan and Sydney Thay, this year’s Foothill League doubles champions, lost on Tuesday to Ella Pachal and Sarah MacCallum of Laguna Beach, 1-6,1-6.

The only Foothill League player remaining in playoffs is Jordyn McBride, who was the league’s singles champion this season. McBride beat her opponents 6-0, 6-0 and 6-0, 6-1 in the CIF-Southern Section Individual Sectionals on Nov. 26.

Although Johnston and her teammate lost in the round of 32, she’s still excited to cheer on McBride in the next round and is already focusing on next season. She also plans to play junior tennis with some of her teammates in the spring.

“Next season I definitely want to take some of the aggression I had in these matches into the season. “And we do a lot of formations so I want to incorporate that into next season too because it psyches the opponents out a lot.”

McBride will compete in the CIF-SS individual semifinals at Seal Beach Tennis Center on Thursday at 11 a.m.

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