Wildcats (11-1, 6-0) girls golf won a top-heavy league opener, squeaking by the Vikings on Thursday at Vista Valencia Golf Course.
West Ranch finished with 174 strokes, just beating out Valencia with 177.
Viking junior Jilian Leh medaled with an impressive 30-stroke (-3) finish.
“Jillian has worked tirelessly on her game,” said Valencia head coach Robert Waters. “She is extremely talented, but also a worker. We all expect her to play well, but I think she demands it of herself even more.”
2021 Foothill League Player of the Year Eunice Yi finished second on the day with an even 33 strokes (0).
Yi was the best of four Wildcats finishing under 37 strokes, rounding out to a tight win over the Vikings. The senior will look to repeat as a league champion and as player of the year before she continues her playing career at Pomona College.
West Ranch junior Rori Fanning finished +4 with Kathryn Mong and Kate Yi behind her at +5.
“We got the W,” said West Ranch head coach Jeff Holen. “We definitely didn’t play across the board as well as we can. We had one girl even and a couple girls over. We should be in the low thirties across the board.”
The Wildcats only lost one senior from last year’s league championship team. However, the freshman, Mong, has filled the role, making this team look just as strong.
Valencia’s Been Yoo (+3) and Isabella Dumbrique (+4) had great starts but no other Vikings could finish under 40 strokes.
Canyon’s Cierra Coia, Hart’s Laney Grider and Saugus’ Maddy Seifert all led their teams with 43 strokes.
Waters was pleased with his team’s start and thinks they’re on a good pace to win a league title in their marathon of a season.
“I was happy with how the entire team contributed,” said Waters. “The girls know this is a six-round tournament that cannot be won on the first day. As long as we continue to work together as a team, our scores will improve and hopefully we’ll be right there in the end.”
Holen would like to see his team’s short game improve as the season goes on. They’ll have a great shot at taking a second league match next week at Hansen Dam.
“We’re young but we still have distance,” said Holden. “Hansen Dam is going to be a good test to see how good we can be.”
Foothill League golf will be back Tuesday at Hansen Dam Golf Course for league match 2. The first groups are set to tee off at noon.