Hart tennis wins tiebreaker thriller over Saugus 

Saugus player Shaine Salonga returns a hit during her singles match against West Ranch player Ava Siano on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

Three rounds of matches couldn’t decide a winner on Tuesday as the Saugus and Hart girls’ tennis teams remained even. 

In a tie, both teams tally up their points from each match’s final score. However, each team remained deadlocked, forcing more Foothill League action in what turned into a near-four-hour match at Saugus.  

The Indians emerged from the tiebreaker round victorious, after every player had to retake the courts and play another full round of games.  

Hart won the match 9-9 (76-76, 12-6) behind stellar play from No. 1 singles Sofia Ganshirt, the only player on the day to win all six matches. Indians coach Allan Hardbarger was proud of his No. 1 singles player. 

“I am very proud of how our No. 1 singles player Sofia Ganshirt led our team to victory today,” Hardbarger wrote in an email. “She played some tough matches during our tournament last weekend, and she was ready for a battle today. Sofia swept all three of her sets in convincing fashion, and then returned to win all three tiebreaks in overtime. “ 

Ganshirt finished the day with 6-0, 6-3 and 6-1 victories in regulation before her 8-6, 7-4 and 7-5 wins in overtime. 

Saugus was led by its No. 1 doubles squad Madison Vianzon and Kelsie Lammens-Ross, as the two went a perfect 6-0, 6-0 and 6-0.  

Hart No. 1 doubles Em Porter and Mia Rodriguez split matches with Vianzon and Lammen-Ross, as the Indians team bested their Centurion counterparts in the tiebreaker round, avenging their 6-0 loss in regulation. 

Both teams brought in five wins on the day, dropping only one game to the other. 

Cents coach Bailey Sindle was shocked to have to go into tiebreakers and was impressed with her team’s endurance. 

“It is incredibly rare but it shows how determined the girls from both teams were in every set,” Sindle wrote in email. “This was the first time both Hardbarger and I had ever had to send everyone back out for another 18 tiebreakers … If you look at the tiebreak scores, almost all of them were only a two-point difference. There were no blowouts and that’s a testament to the fight both teams had.” 

Nearly every other game was tight throughout the contest, and every single point proved crucial for each team. 

“I always tell the girls that, ‘Every point and every game is important. Never think you’re out of it. Until that score tender says 6, you can do it!’” Sindle wrote.  

Six points wasn’t enough in over a dozen matches as these teams showed how close they were. 

One of the deciding points came from Indians No. 3 doubles Lucia and Frenchie Siebaldi. The two dropped their final game 7-5 after a valiant comeback after trailing 2-5. The loss didn’t result in points originally but after the counting of tiebreaker points, the Seibaldis ended up sending the game into overtime. 

Centurions doubles No. 2 Izzy Leifheit and Zoe Farrell also came up with crucial points throughout the day. Although the duo didn’t win a game in regulation, their long battles came to fruition, as the two won 12 sets before the tiebreaker. 

“It was a tough day at the office for them,” Sindle wrote. “Those two have such a good game, but there is still some work to be done. I truly believe that they have the potential to be one of the best teams, though. If they can move, focus, and play their game, I think they can beat anyone.” 

Hart has picked up some serious momentum this week. The Indians recently returned home as Division 2 champions from the California Tennis Classic in Fresno for the first time in program history. 

“Our team has had a very successful start to the season,” Hardbarger wrote. “We lost a close match against defending champion Valencia, but we hope that this tough win at Saugus will give us the confidence to compete for a league title.” 

Hart will remain on the road and next travel to Canyon, while Saugus will host Castaic. Both league matches are slated for Tuesday at 3 p.m. 

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