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VALENCIA'S TENNIS TEAM HAS IT ALL.

Byline: Gideon Rubin Special to the Daily News

VALENCIA - Individual high school tennis standouts make headlines. Deep teams typically win championships.

That bodes well for the Foothill League favorite, Valencia High's girls' team.

The Vikings are not without top individuals - twin sisters Alexa and Cassie Strange, seniors with Div. I college prospects, are considered the league's best players - but their depth could mean another deep playoff run for the Southern Section Div. III semifinalist.

That depth was apparent in Monday's 17-1 league victory over Burroughs of Burbank. Valencia coach Annie Kellogg substituted freely in the match, using freshman Isabella Friecheck in place of Alexa Strange and sophomore Courtney Kaska in place of Cassie Strange.

``The teams that go far in playoffs go 9-10-11 players deep,'' Kellogg said.

Valencia's dominant doubles play - they are 27-0 after two league matches - is another bright spot.

``I can't take anything away from my singles players,'' Kellogg said, ``but I need a lot of those sets in doubles.''

Valencia's No. 1 doubles team, Kristin Anderson and Monique Palmera, won its sets 6-2, 6-3, 6-1. No. 2 team Alexandra Horii and Carissa Eisler won their sets 6-2, 6-1, 6-0.

Also impressive was the No. 3 doubles team Lehren MacKay and Heather Kerschen, who trailed in two sets - including a 5-2 deficit in the opener - but pulled off a 7-5, 6-2, 6-0 sweep.

``They were making a lot of unforced errors in the first match, but they started playing well, and the train kept rolling from there,'' Kellogg said. ``I was really happy to see that fighting spirit.''

--A force: Sophomore Holly Beaman has emerged as one of underclassman-heavy Saugus' top players.

Beaman, who has won eight of nine sets in league play, and freshman Phalia Wilcyznski - Saugus's Nos. 1 and 2 players - form what should be a solid nucleus for the next few years.

Wilcyznski has been enrolled at Saugus since the start of the school year, but she was cleared to play two weeks ago after zoning issues were addressed.

``Our team isn't going away,'' Saugus coach Allan Hardbarger said. ``We're going to be a force for the next couple of years, at least.''

--Holiday observance: All Tuesday Foothill League matches were moved to Monday in recognition of the Jewish New Year's observance. Next week's matches scheduled for Oct. 13 will be played on the 12th in observance of Yom Kippur.

One Saugus player would have missed two matches if not for the scheduling change, Hardbarger said.

``I don't think it would be right to almost force someone to attend matches and do things that conflict with their religion,'' said Hardbarger, who teaches math at Saugus and noted that administrators told instructors at the school to back off on heavy assignments during Jewish high holidays.

``There's a significant Jewish population in the school, and they need to be recognized,'' Hardbarger said.

Gideon Rubin, (818)713-3607

gideon.rubin(at)dailynews.com
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Oct 5, 2005
Words:485
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