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Foothill League boys tennis: Hart’s depth earns early edge

Valencia also defeats Saugus

Posted: March 28, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 28, 2012 1:55 a.m.

While Valencia has announced itself as the team to beat in Foothill League boys tennis, the race for the other two playoff spots is wide open.

Hart and Golden Valley are among the teams battling for those spots, and on Tuesday, Hart gained an early leg up.

Despite shuffling its lineup around, the Indians’ depth helped them outlast the Grizzlies 10-8 at Golden Valley High School.
“Away at Golden Valley, with the wind, I thought they played really well under that pressure,” said Hart head coach Chris Mansfield.

With regular No. 1 singles player Tommy Labat forced to play doubles due to back soreness, Hart (6-4 overall, 2-1 Foothill League) shifted Elliot Miller into the No. 1 singles spot and he responded by winning two sets 6-2 and 6-2.

“I felt a little nervous at first, but I felt we all played our hearts out,” Miller said.

Labat and his doubles partner, Rohan Shankar, won two sets 6-3 and 6-0. Hart’s other two doubles teams each did the same, with the team of Bogar Munoz and Thomas Rakke winning 6-3 and 7-6 (7-4 tiebreaker), and the No. 1 pairing of Mikey Park and Ben McKeon winning 6-2 and 6-0 in the set that clinched the match.

At the Valencia Spring Smash on Saturday, Park and McKeon actually lost to the team it beat 6-0.

“I’m happy with how my No. 1 team played after last Saturday,” Mansfield said.

Golden Valley No. 1 singles player Brandon Yu swept 6-4, 6-0 and 6-2, and the Grizzlies’ No. 1 doubles team of Brandon Sen and Brian Park swept 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-2) and 6-2.

But the Grizzlies (4-4, 1-2) only managed two more victories, both from No. 2 singles player Caleb Kim, underscoring their top-heavy lineup.

“You can’t understate how important confidence is, keeping your wits about you, staying calm,” said Golden Valley head coach Josh Stimac. “It’s going to take a couple more matches for my guys to get that.”

Hart and Golden Valley are expected to battle West Ranch and Saugus in what should be a close race for the playoffs, so the Indians’ early road victory bodes well for them.

But there are still things to work on.

“We can build on it by moving our feet more, giving it our best and staying focused mentally,” Miller said.

In other action on Tuesday, Valencia defeated Saugus 18-0.

The Vikings (8-3, 3-0) dropped just three games in singles with J.R. Macalutas and Chris Pope each sweeping three sets.

On the doubles side, David Myers and Cameron Braun had the best day with a 6-1, 6-2, 6-0 sweep.

In three league matches, Valencia owns a 53-1 sets advantage.



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