By Ryan Menzie
Signal Sports Writer
The Valencia Vikings girls’ tennis team was the final Foothill League team left in the CIF playoffs. Unfortunately for the Vikings, they were unable to come up with the win, losing 11-7 Friday to the Claremont Wolfpack and officially ending the Foothill League run.
The Vikings finished their season as the Foothill League champions by going undefeated in the regular season. Head coach Darrell Peries and assistant coach Proyfon Lohaphaisan said they couldn’t have asked for a better season with the group they had.
“They’re a very good team,” said Peries. “We were trying to strengthen our sets in doubles with their No. 1 tennis player being very highly ranked. I feel like they improved over the season a ton. I just wish I had more than one season with the seniors, but wherever they go I’m sure they will do great things.
“I think it was the best performance we’ve seen from the doubles team all season long,” said Lohaphaisan. “I feel like they got a lot closer this season especially with COVID last season keeping the players apart. It’s going to be weird with a lot of the seniors gone from the starting lineup, so we’ll be rebuilding. I’m going to miss them so much.”
The Vikings were led by their No. 1 singles player Sydney Thay, who dropped her first match to the No. 1 singles 2-6, but was able to close out her final two matches, winning 6-0 and 6-1. Thay produced the only wins for the singles teams for the Vikings.
“I think this season was really great,” said Thay. “I think we had such a great bond this season. I felt my game really improved over this past season with more experience and playing time. I was incredibly nervous my first match, but I felt calmer in the later matches. I love each of my seniors. I can’t imagine a season without them so I really am going to miss them. I thank them for all the contributions from this season.”
In doubles, the Vikings outplayed the Wolfpack, winning five sets to four, which went to Peries’ plan, but with the struggles in singles the Vikings were unable to keep up. No. 1 doubles players Sydney Tamondong and Ellie Wingo lost their first match 3-6 to the Wolfpack’s No. 1 doubles team, but were able to win their final two matches, 6-1 and 6-2.
“I think that for not playing doubles for a majority of my time recently, I think I played well today,” said Tamondong. “I think some things could be improved but it was a whole lot of fun. I just want my team to continue to dream big and put your best into everyday life like we have before. I promise they have the brightest future ahead for Valencia tennis. I’m so happy they accepted me to be on this team and gave me the best memories I’ve ever had in high school.”
No. 2 doubles Alexis Kuncar and Skylar Braithwaite lost their first match, but won their final two matches 6-1 apiece. No. 3 doubles Maddie Muñana and Jonam Welinker lost their first match 2-6 and third match 0-6, but were able to win their second match, 6-2.
“Teamwork and independence from singles and doubles taught me a lot of good lessons this season,” said Braithwaite. “I want the seniors to have the best time in college. Wherever you plan on going you’ll definitely be missed. Hopefully we can stay in touch and see you soon. Love to all of them.”