Valencia Vikings girls’ tennis rolled through its Foothill League match with the visiting Golden Valley Grizzlies on Tuesday.
Valencia won the match 14-4, with standout performances all around, showcasing why the team remains undefeated in league play.
Vikings No. 2 singles Baylee Renfro won all of her sets, 6-0, 6-2 and 6-0.
Valencia’s No. 2 doubles Nitya Kotha and Melissa Arakleyan also won each of their two games with 6-2 and 7-5 wins.
Golden Valley was without No. 1 singles Charly Saltz, one of the top players in the Foothill League, who was out sick. The Grizzlies’ second best scorer in singles, Janice Jin, remained steady and consistent, and picked up two points for Golden Valley head coach Josh Stimac.
“In Charly’s absence I was very pleased with my singles players,” Stimac wrote in an email. “Janice was not hitting her serve as cleanly as she usually does, but she fought hard and picked up two sets. My No. 3 singles, Aubrey Luna, did not win any sets but she played quite well and is showing tremendous improvement.”
Grizzlies No. 3 singles Aubrey Luna didn’t come away with any points, but has put up some tough fights this season, storming onto the scene as a freshman.
“Aubrey played like a champ today,” Stimac added. “She has a spunky personality, and she hates to lose. This has brought a bit of a spark to the varsity team this year.”
Most of the Viking starters were pulled after two matches, giving head coach Darrell Perries a chance to test his younger players.
“I think it’s important for the bench to get playing time and experience, especially the ones that have moved up from JV last year,” Perries said via text message. “The jump from JV to varsity can be difficult to adopt to because of the level of play that some of our competition has. So we try to get them in as much as we can.”
Valencia No. 1 singles Skylar Brathwaite was called in early for rest and looked sharp as ever. Brathwaite, the league runner-up in singles from last season, has a great shot at returning to the finals at the Foothill League preliminaries yet again in 2023.
“This is definitely the most consistent Skylar has been,” Perries said. “She has been improving every year. Definitely a big jump from last year.”
Another 2022 league champ whose day was called early is doubles player Cami Schoenwetter. Now teamed with Sivan Garteiz, Schoenwetter will also be a threat to return to the league finals.
The Vikings duo didn’t miss much and showcased strong serving and quick volleys.
“Cami and Sivan are a solid team for us,” Perries said. “They have only dropped one set so far in the Foothill League.”
The Grizzlies will look to regroup in the second half of league play, which continues Monday at Hart. Stimac knows each point will be tough and just wants to keep seeing improvements for his team that has Golden Valley tennis on the rise.
“In the second round of league, I’m telling my girls to try and improve on their scores from the first round,” Stimac wrote. “If they lost a set 6-3 the first time around, I want them to fight for a 6-4 the second time.”
Valencia also returns to action against Hart and will host the Indians on Tuesday at 3 p.m.