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Foothill League tennis prelims sees doubles creativity

Usual singles win; doubles teams shuffle for position

Posted: October 30, 2013 11:19 p.m.
Updated: October 30, 2013 11:19 p.m.
Katrina DeGuzman of Canyon tennis at The Paseo Club on Wednesday. DeGuzman advanced to today’s semifinal round. Katrina DeGuzman of Canyon tennis at The Paseo Club on Wednesday. DeGuzman advanced to today’s semifinal round.
Katrina DeGuzman of Canyon tennis at The Paseo Club on Wednesday. DeGuzman advanced to today’s semifinal round.

Hart singles was dominant as expected, and doubles play was thoroughly competitive during the first two rounds of the Foothill League tournament on Wednesday afternoon at the Paseo Club.

“Nothing in doubles is predictable, not like the singles draw,” said Valencia head coach Annie Kellogg.
On Wednesday, the two categories weren’t exactly mutually exclusive.

Due to Hart’s stronghold in singles, Foothill League coaches knew that the only way to put their players in a position to win a trophy was to funnel them into the doubles draw.

The impact of this strategy was undeniable on Wednesday.

Generally the first day of action at the year-end tournament, which sends its top two singles players and doubles teams to the CIF-Southern Section individual playoffs, is a mere formality. The higher seeds cruise into the second round and the draw takes shape.

But because of all the talent that was relegated into doubles action, that trend was largely eradicated on Wednesday, and onlookers were treated to a slew of tightly contested battles in the draw’s bottom half.

The most notable of which was a first-round showdown between West Ranch’s third-seeded duo of Mackenzie Lyle and Sydney Schwartz and Valencia’s pairing of Lindsey Wolf and Morgan Meunitz.

After capturing the first set but serving at 4-5 and 5-6 in the second set, Lyle and Schwartz righted the ship to prevail 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) in a match that lasted over an hour. The win avenged the duo’s 7-5 loss to Wolf and Meunitz last Thursday.

“If you have the attitude that you want to take the league’s best interest into consideration, then stacking doubles teams in this tournament gives the Foothill League the best chance to put two competitive teams into CIF individuals,” said West Ranch head coach Erick Spiecker. “For the league as a whole this is a great thing.”

Unfortunately for West Ranch, Lyle and Schwartz won’t be one of the two teams to advance to CIF individuals. The No. 3 seeded duo was perhaps the biggest victim of the deep draw, falling to Valencia’s Katelyn Choi and Kate Zeile in the second round, 5-7, 3-6.

After capturing the third-place trophy in doubles two years in a row, Lyle is now finished with her successful Foothill League career.

Choi and Zeile were the only unseeded unit — singles or doubles — to advance into today’s semifinals round, a misleading feat given that Choi was one of Valencia’s strongest singles players during the season. The Vikings’ duo will face Hart’s Lauren Dam and Bailey Sindle, who cruised into the semifinals after downing Saugus’ Caren Rosen and Rachel Callas 6-2, 6-0 in the second round.

The other doubles semifinal features Wednesday’s two most dominant teams — Valencia’s Tina Inchalik and Remy Balmain and West Ranch’s Quinterra Walter-Eze and Julia Lynch.

Inchalik and Walter-Eze were each their team’s No. 1 singles player this season, which is reflected by the fact that the two’s doubles teams combined to drop only five games on Wednesday.

Things were more straightforward in singles.
Hart’s Natalia Muñoz, Proyfon Lohaphaisan and Jackie Resler all advanced to the semifinals, posting a 36-7 game score in the process.

The odd-man-in is Canyon’s Katrina DeGuzman, who dropped just two games on Wednesday.
DeGuzman will face Muñoz in the first semifinal, marking the fourth time the two will face each other this season.

History favors Muñoz, who went 3-0 in those contests.

The semifinal between teammates Lohaphaisan and Resler is not the first time the two have faced each other at the year-end tournament. Lohaphaisan, a junior, and Resler, a senior, have squared off for the third-place trophy the past two years, with Lohaphaisan winning both of those matches in three sets.

“Our singles lineup is just amazing” said Dam, a senior who played singles for the Indians early in her career before switching to doubles a season ago. “This tournament is good because there’s always something to improve, and it allows us to show off our skills and get in some practice.”


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