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Familiarity awaits at the final

Posted: May 1, 2008 2:12 a.m.
Updated: July 2, 2008 5:03 a.m.
West Ranch's Jeremy Ramirez hits a volley in a doubles match at the boys tennis preliminaries at the Paseo Club Wednesday. West Ranch's Jeremy Ramirez hits a volley in a doubles match at the boys tennis preliminaries at the Paseo Club Wednesday.
West Ranch's Jeremy Ramirez hits a volley in a doubles match at the boys tennis preliminaries at the Paseo Club Wednesday.
For the most part, the Foothill League Boys Tennis Preliminaries held serve.

All four top seeds in singles advanced to today's semifinals and three of the four seeded teams advanced in doubles.

There was one curveball, though, albeit a curveball that was widely expected.

Valencia's Tyler Gottshall and Jack Zapala who played singles all season and would have most likely been seeded No. 1 and No. 2 in the singles draw, entered the tournament as a doubles team.

"They're meant for doubles," said Valencia coach Annie Kellogg. "They're tall guys, two huge serves, they're a wrecking crew."

The duo have played a lot of doubles tournaments together recently and had no problem advancing to today's semifinals with two easy wins including a 6-0, 6-0 first-round victory.

Zapala has been to the CIF-Southern Section individual playoffs the last two seasons in singles and wanted to do something different, Kellogg said.

She believes the tandem has a better chance to be the first Valencia tennis players in her tenure to make it to the round of 16 in CIF. (The finalists in singles and doubles reach CIF).

Without Zapala and Gottshall, the singles draw is up for grabs, according to West Ranch coach Eric Spiecker.

Spiecker's Wildcats may have benefited the most. No. 1 Jordan Hovis and No. 2 Beau Martin each passed the first two rounds with relative ease and gave West Ranch the possibilty of an all Wildcat final, provided each wins his semifnal match.

With the No. 1 comes some added pressure for Hovis.

"Being the No. 1 seed, you feel like you shouldn't lose," Hovis said. "But there's some tough competition."

Last season, Hovis was a couple of points away from CIF but couldn't get past Zapala. On Thursday, he hopes things will be different.

"I'm looking to getting some revenge and going (to CIF) this year," he said.

Hovis beat Saugus' David Badal in the second round while Martin dispensed of his own teammate Jason Wei 6-2, 6-1.

Hovis will take on (No. 4) Valencia's Jimmy Kim, and Martin will play (No. 3) Canyon's Jason Ferlianto Thursday at noon.

Ferlianto didn't have an easy second round matchup when he faced off against Hart's Garrett Russikoff. He fell down early 5-2, but climbed back and won the set in a tiebreaker 7-6 (8-6). He had an easier time in the second set, winning 6-2.

"It was a tough match," Ferlianto said. "I was playing pretty consistent, hit some solid shots."

Playing against the speedy Martin will be a challenge for Ferlianto because there aren't many balls that Martin can't reach.

"Beau has a lot of weapons that people don't realize," Spiecker said.

Ferlianto is confident he can hold his own.

"If I'm focusing I can get to the finals," he said.

As for the doubles draw, having Zapala and Gottshall together means everyone else is playing for second place.

"It closes out the doubles tournament completely," Spiecker said.

West Ranch guaranteed itself at least that when the doubles team of Patrick Fuertez and Jason Oh saved the one upset of the day for last. They needed two tiebreakers to do it, but when they had the No. 2 seeded doubles team of Matt and John Kincaid on the ropes, they put their foot down and won 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-3).

They will face the No. 3 seed, teammates Jeremy Ramirez and Kevin Harman. Valencia is assured a spot in the finals as well. Gottshall and Zapala will take on Valencia's Cameron Phillips and Michael Stewart, who asked Kellogg to put them on their teammates side of the draw.

"They wanted to play them," Kellogg said.

And now they have their wish. Today will reveal whether they'll regret it.


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