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Prep tennis: West Ranch has one of those days

Wildcats have their troubles with Division IV’s No. 6 team

Posted: March 14, 2012 10:24 p.m.
Updated: March 14, 2012 10:24 p.m.

Playing partners were struggling to communicate and shots were just missing on Wednesday for West Ranch boys tennis.

Not much went right for the Wildcats at West Ranch High School, where they lost 12-6 to Buckley High of Sherman Oaks.

At one point in the match, West Ranch’s No. 1 doubles player Darian Ramirez tried to hit a lob shot toward the back corner, only to see a gust of wind carry the ball out of bounds.

That was just the beginning of a long day for West Ranch (2-2 overall).

“We were just seeing different things and we were getting too excited and just hitting it out,” Ramirez said of he and playing partner Connor Hope.

The pairing won just one set, 6-2, from the No. 1 doubles spot, losing the remaining sets 6-2, 6-3.

Buckley (4-2), CIF-Southern Section Division IV’s No. 6 ranked team, did the bulk of its damage in singles play though, winning seven of nine sets to hand the Wildcats their second straight loss.

“The last two have been a reality check,” said West Ranch head coach Eric Spiecker. “We’ve played good, there are some highlights. We’ve seen some great things.”

Among the bright spots was the play of senior Baron Von Kessler, who claimed West Ranch’s only two victories in singles play.

He beat Blake Resnikoff 6-3 and Spencer Schifino 6-2, but lost to the Griffins No. 3 singles player Billy Wilson 6-4 in surprising, come-from-behind fashion.

Von Kessler led Wilson 4-1 in his final set of the day thanks to a dominant serve.

Wilson adjusted well and began to return the serve with authority, and eventually went on to win five straight games.

“Baron doesn’t usually have that problem,” Spiecker said. “Usually when he has a chance to close, he’s going to close.”

Other than that, it was a few scattered wins in doubles play for the Wildcats, including two narrow wins from No. 2 doubles team Chris Gaw and John Lee. The pair won 7-5 and 6-4, after losing 6-2 earlier.

Griffins head coach Sue Sherman said her team’s late surge stemmed from a few key turning points early in the day.
“We were down 3-2 in the first round and my No. 1 doubles team was down 3-0,” she said. “We came back and won and we kind of kept the momentum from there.”

Wilson was the only player to sweep all of his sets, winning 6-3 and 6-2 to add to his defeat of Von Kessler.

West Ranch has one more dual match remaining on Friday at San Marcos before Foothill League play begins on Tuesday against Valencia.

“We’re getting better,” Ramirez said. “Looking a lot better than we were a month ago.”


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