Saugus Centurions girls’ tennis won a nailbiter of a match on Thursday, taking down the visiting Golden Valley Grizzlies, 10-8.
The Centurions and Grizzlies are both inching closer to peaking in the final stretch of the season, with multiple players on each side looking like they could be a threat at the Foothill League preliminaries.
Saugus was led by No. 1 doubles Madison Vianzon and Kelsie Lammens-Ross with another league match sweep. The Centurion duo tore through the day with 6-1, 6-1 and 6-0 wins.
The Grizzlies were led by No. 1 singles Charly Saltz, who had a perfect day with three straight 6-0 wins.
The Cents also got a pair of points from their No. 3 doubles team Izzy Leifheit and Zoe Farrell. The No. 3 squad won two of their games 6-0 and 7-5, only dropping their second match to Golden Valley No. 1 doubles Isabella Arcasetas and Alitzel Ortega.
Ortega and Arcasetas were in long battles throughout the day and finished with 7-5 and 6-4 wins, only dropping their only opening match to Lammens-Ross and Vianzon. Grizzlies coach Josh Stimac has loved what he’s seen from his top doubles squad this season.
“Alitzel and Bella have been impressive all season,” Stimac wrote in an email. “Alitzel’s baseline play has been sharper each week, and Bella has remained a powerful force at the net.”
Grizzlies No. 2 singles Janice Jin also brought in two wins, 6-3 and 6-2.
“Janice is very focused and fights hard for all three sets,” Stimac wrote. “I’m always impressed with her ability to keep her feet moving. In every match that we’ve played I believe that she has run more than any other girl.”
Jin was just a few points away from a perfect day but lost in a tiebreaker game to Saugus No. 2 Frankie Spandoni, 7-6 (7-3).
Spandoni, a senior, was the only Saugus singles player to win two games and won her matches 7-6 and 6-2.
“Frankie has been striking the ball and playing some lights-out tennis,” Saugus coach Bailey Sindle wrote in an email. “Her match against Janice Jin was incredible. Janice is so tough because she has great variety in her game and can run down any ball. Frankie had good placement and took advantage of the opportunities she had. A tiebreaker brings a different level of pressure and she handled it very well. I think she is a great role model for the girls who will be stepping into singles next season.”
Saugus has closed out some tight matches this season. Sindle was proud of her team finishing off another tight league battle.
“The second round of league play has held a lot of tight matches for us but I’ve seen improvement across the entire lineup,” Sindle wrote. “We’ve become a little familiar with the 8-10 score, but if the girls are playing well, going for all their shots, and giving it their all, then what more could I ask for?”
Both teams will return to league action this week before Foothill League preliminaries begin the following week.
Golden Valley will return home to host Valencia on Tuesday while Saugus heads to Castaic for its final league match on Thursday. Both matches are slated for 3 p.m.
The Centurions are already a lock for the playoffs but Sindle’s team is ready to go to work at prelims first.
“They are excited for prelims and playoffs,” Sindle wrote. “Every girl has improved in at least one area since summer camp ended. They acknowledge their areas of improvement, make goals, and strive to achieve them. Prelims is always fun because all the schools are together competing, and they have the opportunity to not only see their friends from other schools play, but also witness some high-level tennis. They have enjoyed playoffs in the past not just because they are representing the school and league, but also because they get to compete against schools we normally don’t play. It’s a totally different atmosphere.”