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CIF girls tennis: ’Cats are still alive

West Ranch is last team standing from Foothill League

Posted: November 16, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: November 16, 2011 1:55 a.m.

When it became clear West Ranch girls tennis wasn’t going to coast its way into the semifinals, the team referred back to a simple motto.

“Every point, every game, every set,” said head coach Eric Spiecker. “That’s one of the models we set up two or three years ago.”

The motto took on a whole new meaning during Tuesday’s CIF-Southern Section Division III quarterfinal match, where the Wildcats edged Wilson High of Long Beach 78-71 in games after a 9-9 overall tie at Wilson High School.

West Ranch (18-0) got a nearly even mixture of wins from singles and doubles to advance to its second straight semifinal, which will be played Thursday at West Ranch High School.

After winning a coinflip to assure a home match, the Wildcats will take on either Arroyo Grande or Sage Hill of Newport Beach, the same team that knocked off West Ranch 10-8 in last year’s semifinal.

It took a full team effort to get past Wilson (13-4), which held a slight advantage in singles play.

The Bruins won the games battle 36-34 in singles, but West Ranch made up for it with a 44-35 win in the doubles portion that included a sweep from the No. 1 doubles team of Gabrielle Morici and Lena Poonnopatam.

The pairing won its sets 6-3, 7-6 and 6-1 for the Wildcats’ only sweep of the day.

“It was crazy but it was good,” Spiecker said of the win.

The other two West Ranch victories in doubles came from MacKenzie Lyle and Jordyn Jaffe (6-1) and Amanda Wilkinson and Sarah Andrews (6-0).

On the singles side, Ana Cecilia Fuentes snagged a pair of 6-0 wins in the No. 1 spot and freshman Julia Lynch added another two wins 6-2, 6-3 as the Wildcats’ No. 2 player.

“We needed everything,” Spiecker said. “So you can’t pinpoint it on one player.”

After Monday’s 10-8 win over Santiago, West Ranch, the bracket’s No. 1-seed, has now won two straight close playoff matches in as many days.

“You kind of try to let them know that we’re the higher ranked team and they’re the underdogs and we’ve got to take that advantage into every set,” Spiecker said of dealing with the pressure.

And given a possible semifinal rematch with Sage Hill, a narrow 9-9 (76-69) West Ranch victory on Sept. 19 bodes well, Spiecker added.

“We did beat them in our dual meet and I feel like our lineup matches up well with them,” he said.


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