2016-09-09 / Sports
Anyone for tennis?
Simi Valley, Royal continue to make a racket on court
Oak Park High has secured at least a share of the Coastal Canyon crown the past two seasons. Camarillo, Moorpark, Royal and Simi Valley want to end the Eagles’ reign at the top of the standings.
Coastal Canyon play begins Sept. 20.
Here’s a closer look at the teams:
SIMI VALLEY PIONEERS
Not much has changed in the Pioneers’ lineup since last season.
Simi Valley (5-0) returns its top two singles players in Taylour Newman, a junior who was undefeated through four matches, and Sierra Paoli, a talented senior.
Head coach Rob Wickwire said the doubles duo of Megan Ober, a sophomore, and junior Soilee Gutierrez are also playing well.
“We’re looking good,” said Wickwire, who is in his 22nd year at the helm. “We always want to compete to try to get the league title.”
The injury bug plagued the Pioneers at the end of league play last season.
Wickwire said the key to a successful 2016 campaign is simple.
“Our goal is not to get hurt,” he said. “We have to stay injury-free.”
Simi Valley will compete at the California Tennis Classic, a two-day tournament in Fresno this weekend. The Pioneers open league play against Oak Park at 3 p.m. Sept. 20 on the road.
The Highlanders are off to a hot start.
Royal (3-0) defeated Pacifica, Rio Mesa and Golden Valley to open the season.
“I’m pleased we won some sets and those matches,” eighth-year head coach Roger Hixon said. “I know our league is going to be tougher. We have to get better.”
Ariane Carpenter, a fourth-year varsity veteran, and Mary Del Angel are seniors who star at singles. Junior Athena Krier is another singles player to watch.
Hixon said he’s most impressed with his doubles teams.
“They’re finding ways to win,” he said.
Sophomore tandem Olivia Latham and Maggie Robertson haven’t lost a set this season. Senior Ashley Dung and junior Nicole Buizon also have nice chemistry on the court.
“This is the first time in a long time I have girls that actually want to push and challenge to get up to the varsity level,” the coach said. “There’s more competitiveness on the team. There’s a little more motivation to get better.”
Camarillo finished in second place in league after dealing with some injuries late in the 2015 season.
Head coach Claudia Grafenstein said the Scorpions (1-1 overall) are healthy, and they plan to contend for the top spot.
“I think we have a really good chance at league this year,” the 12th-year head coach said. “I hope the girls can pull it off.”
The Scorpions return much of their star-studded lineup from last fall.
Danielle Kalcic, a senior captain, is the top singles player.
“She knows how to change the pace,” Grafenstein said of Kalcic. “She has a lot of shots in her arsenal. She’s a really smart singles player.”
Brittany Lavenant, a junior, and Jaime Wu, a sophomore, are talented singles players.
Tatiana Anderson, a senior captain, teams up with sophomore Kayli Govil at No. 1 doubles.
Savannah Hunnicutt, a junior, joins forces with Taryn Liu, a sophomore. Senior Michelle Liu and freshman Molly Honnef also play doubles.
Camarillo plays host to La Reina at 2:30 p.m. Sept. 13.
“I really feel, with honing a few skills and tidying up a few areas, we have a real shot at beating the teams in our league,” Grafenstein said.
OAK PARK EAGLES
The Eagles are ready to fly.
Oak Park defeated Louisville and Malibu but lost to Viewpoint and Newbury Park in its first four matches.
The Eagles are strong on the singles side with senior Annette Goulak, sophomore Sylvie Van Cott and freshman Lauren Kessler.
Seniors Kali DeVarennes and Sabrina Stone team up at No. 1 doubles. Juniors Natalie Dobrinska and Maira Romanov are vying for the second doubles spot with twins Hannah and Goldie Kay, who are sophomores.
Oak Park battles Oaks Christian at 3 p.m. Sept. 13 at North Ranch Country Club.
The Eagles expect to repeat as league champions, but it won’t be a cakewalk.
First-year head coach Brian Friefeld, a longtime Moorpark basketball assistant, has settled in with the Musketeer girls’ tennis squad.
Friefeld, who’s taught at the school for 22 years, filled the vacancy during the summer.
“I didn’t want the girls to be without a coach,” he said. “I’m just trying to give the girls a positive experience and a little bit of organization and stability. I’d like them to be competitive.”
Sabrina Hodoose, a freshman singles player, leads the Musketeers.
“She’s by far our best player,” Friefeld said. “She’s going to do fine. She’s really good and she’s smart.”
Senior Natalie Galin, an honors student, and junior Tess Mc- Cants are starting singles players.
Senior captains Madi Kha and Karley Jacobs team up at No. 1 doubles.
“Those two girls work hard,” the coach said of Kha and Jacobs. “They’re going to have some success this year. They’re a joy to be around.”
Avery Tallion and Kohana Scanlon trot out at No. 2 doubles.
Moorpark travels to face Newbury Park at 3 p.m. today. The Musketeers open league play on the road against Camarillo at 3 p.m. Sept. 20.
This story was updated Sept. 12 to correct Camarillo High sophomore Taryn Liu's name.