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Drama absent from Hart/Valencia tennis match

Anticipated matchup is one-sided as Vikes roll

Posted: March 28, 2013 10:26 p.m.
Updated: March 28, 2013 10:26 p.m.
Valencia’s Joey Fernicola hits a return shot against Hart on Thursday at Hart High  Valencia’s Joey Fernicola hits a return shot against Hart on Thursday at Hart High 
Valencia’s Joey Fernicola hits a return shot against Hart on Thursday at Hart High 


These were the boys tennis teams picked by coaches as the top two finishers in the Foothill League.

Up to this point, those teams, the Hart Indians and the Valencia Vikings, had lived up to that billing as both came into the day unbeaten in league play.

Valencia took the drama out of this marquee matchup early, rolling to a convincing 15-3 win over Hart on Thursday at Hart High School.

It wasn’t as much a knock on Hart as it was a demonstration of the Vikings’ sustained dominance of this league.

“It was going to be our best competition actually,” said Valencia doubles player Kevin Saginian of Hart. “We just stayed with our game and we were fine.”

Valencia (9-4 overall, 4-0 Foothill League) won eight out of nine doubles sets and another seven in singles play on its way to a fourth straight lopsided win in league.

So far, the Vikings haven’t lost more than three sets in a single Foothill match.

Playing the No. 3 spot, Saginian and his doubles partner Joseph Hwang swept three sets, including a narrow 7-5 victory over Hart’s No. 1 pairing of Tommy LaBat and Luke Distad in the final set of the afternoon.

“For that one, we couldn’t just blow them off the court because they were good,” Saginian said. “We had to play good doubles and be patient.”

Earlier in the match, LaBat and Distad took a set, 6-3, off Valencia’s No. 2 team of David Myers and Sam Rebele. It was the first dropped set of the season for that pairing in league play.

The other two set wins for Hart (9-5, 3-1) on the day came from singles players Elliot Miller and Brandon Dam, who both beat Valencia’s Nabor Cabanillas by scores of 6-2 and 6-0, respectively.

But up top, Valencia held strong with Chad LeDuff winning both of his sets from No. 1 singles and Joey Fernicola adding three victories in No. 2 singles.

The Vikings’ No. 1 doubles team of Chris Pope and Cameron Braun won both of their sets, 6-2, 6-1.

“Obviously we have to deal with losses like this one against Valencia,” Miller said. “But you always learn something. Every time after a loss, I look back and see what I could have done better.”

Despite the loss, Hart is still on track to improve upon last year’s 5-5 finish in league, especially after beating West Ranch for the first time on March 19.


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