Vikings’ girls tennis (11-4, 6-0) won its home league matchup with Saugus (8-3, 4-1) on Wednesday.
Valencia swept through singles, dominating every match on its way to nine points. Doubles could’ve gone either way in most of the matches but the Vikings came out on top in five out of the nine games.
Valencia No. 1 singles Sydney Thay won all of her matches cleanly, winning 6-0, 6-0 and 6-0. Vikings No. 2 singles Skylar Brathwaite won her matches 6-2, 6-1 and 6-0.
“We have a solid one and two in the singles lineup with Sydney and Skylar,” said Valencia coach Darrell Peries. “Sydney’s relentlessness is difficult for her opponents to deal with. Skylar’s athleticism and natural power give her a big advantage.”
Saugus No. 1 Julissa Diaz dropped all of her sets but the scores don’t’ quite reflect the match. Diaz battled with Brathwaite with a handful of long points and games going to deuce.
Vikings’ new-look No. 1 doubles Alexis Kuncar and Melissa Arakelyan took two wins on the day. Kuncar and Arakelyan were pushed in all three matches but finished 7-5, 6-3 and 4-6.
Saugus’ also new No. 1 duo Madi Vianzon and Kelsie Lemmons-Ross battled in long sets all day, finishing 5-7, 7-6 and 6-3.
“Madi and Kelsie have done well together since I made the switch of putting Madi in doubles,” said Centurions head coach Bailey Sindle. “They had a long battle against Alexis and Melissa but other than that they have yet to lose. They have a more unorthodox doubles style and I think that might throw some teams off. They mix up the ball well and have fun.”
The two teams displayed a ton of grit in doubles as no team would sweep all their matches. No doubles game would finish below a 6-3 final while six matches were won by two or fewer points.
Vikings’ No. 3 doubles Tiffany Recalde and Cami Schoenwetter finished their day with scores of 3-6,6-3 and 7-5.
“In doubles, it is important to find pairs that can play off of their partner’s strengths,” said Peries. “It’s also important to find players that are strong at the net. Doubles is primarily won at the net, so if you have a pairing that has great hands and technique with volleys and overheads, it usually leads to a huge advantage. We don’t usually deal with teams that play double back, but when we do it’s important to be steady and find angles to get them off the court.”
There were plenty of close fights but Sindle will hope to see her team take the next step and close out these tough games.
“We need to improve at closing out sets,” said Sindle. “There have been a handful of sets where the girls were up and ended up losing because they could not close it out. Moving into some of the closer matches, we need to be able to win those important sets because it could make the difference in who wins the match.”
Saugus dropped another match Thursday to West Ranch but has plenty of season left to fight for a Foothill League title.
The Centurions return to the courts after Yom Kippur break to host Hart on Thursday. Valencia will host Arcadia on Monday and will continue its bid for an undefeated season in league on Thursday when the Vikings head to West Ranch.