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Vikes fall to familiar foe

For second year in a row, Valencia eliminated by Palm Desert

Posted: May 16, 2009 8:59 p.m.
Updated: May 17, 2009 4:55 a.m.
2009 was another successful season for Valencia boys tennis, but Saturday it ended just like the 2008 campaign, at the hands of perennial powerhouse Palm Desert.

The Aztecs rolled to a 17-1 win at Valencia High to score a decisive victory in the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Division II playoffs.

“They are a really good team,” said Valencia senior Matt Cheng. “One through nine they have a lot of great players.”

Cheng teamed with J.R. Macalutas for the Vikings (16-3) only set victory on the day, topping Palm Desert’s No. 1 doubles team of Kyle and Chris Bastardi 6-4.

“Their singles players were all really good,” said Valencia captain Tyler Gottshall. “All three of them played a different style, which made it tough to adjust. They are a really solid team across the board.”

Last year the Aztecs defeated Valenia en route to a CIF-Southern Section Division II finals appearance, but lost on points in the tie-breaker.

They look primed to make another deep run this season.

“I’m not really all that surprised with how they played,” said Valencia head coach Annie Kellogg. “We know that they had a great team last year, and they weren’t in rebuilding mode. They were in reloading mode so they are still a team that has a lot of talent. It’s a great program.”

The Aztec singles team of Nick Cummings, Tanner Emerson and Daniel Reinhardt swept the individual bracket.

Even top-ranked Foothill League singles player Gottshall was over-matched by Palm Desert’s singles squad. After not losing more than one set in any Foothill League match and advancing to the league finals, Gottshall was kept in check by the Aztecs.

He nearly scored a win against Emerson, but the Palm Desert No. 2 won a tie-breaker 7-2.

“We have a lot of respect for Palm Desert,” said Valencia No. 2 singles player Ben Inchalik. “They have respect for us too so it’s not as tough to lose to a team like that. Obviously, we would have liked to win more sets, but we know they are a really good team.”

For a quintet of Valencia players the season is not over. They will be back on the court Friday at the CIF-Southern Section individual playoffs.

“I’m really proud of our guys,” Kellogg said. “We are going to move forward from this and focus on being in better condition by this time next year. There are a lot of great teams out here, and I think we can use today to know where we have to get to succeed in the CIF.”


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