By Justin Vigil-Zuniga
Signal Sports Writer
The West Ranch Wildcats boys’ tennis (10-2, 8-0) took care of the Saugus Centurions (4-10, 3-5) in their Tuesday league matchup at Saugus.
West Ranch has dominated in singles all year, led by the undefeated Jared Admiraal, who did not play Tuesday.
But even in their big server’s absence, the Cats showed their depth with great outings from starters Alex King, Richard Lee and Andrew Baarg.
King and Lee both displayed strong serves with consistent play controlling all their matches.
“Alex is my singles No. 3 and Richard is a strong singles player as well,” said West Ranch head coach Jackie Resler. “Both of them are my seniors and watching them from when they were freshmen to now is unbelievable. You can tell they have put so much time into their tennis and proves that hard work does pay off.”
King won both of his matches, 6-1.
On the doubles’ courts, Wildcats No. 1 duo of Xander Hepburn and Bryce Blaugrund were strong through their three matches, winning 6-0, 6-1 and 6-1.
The pair controlled nearly every set, dominating on the net and ending any chance of a rally quickly.
“Xander and Bryce, they are making a good pair,” said Resler. “They are good friends so there is good chemistry between them. Byrce just moved up from being JV last year and Xander is an excellent doubles player with excellent hands.”
West Ranch No. 2 duo Blake Yakel and Wyatt Sallee also posted impressive scores of 6-2, 6-1 and 6-2.
Saugus No. 3 Mathew Tolosa played excellently in his three matches. Although the junior just won a single match, he battled throughout, finishing with scores of 6-2, 4-6 and 4-6.
“I thought that Mathew Tolosa played very well today,” said Centurion head coach Bailey Sindle. “He was the one player who was able to clinch a set today, but that’s not the only reason why I thought he performed well.”
Centurions No. 2 Elijah Jimenez also played well despite his 1-6, 4-6 and 0-6 scores. Jimenez nearly came back and stole his match with Lee. Lee was up 5-1 on Jimenez but the Centurion kept fighting. He eventually dropped the set 6-4, showcasing some solid level-headed play.
Overall, Saugus fought hard but West Ranch clinched all but one match. The Cats remain undefeated and are looking strong midway through the season.
“We knew West Ranch would be a tough team to face,” said Sindle. “They are undefeated in league and have a talented lineup all the way down. As a team, I thought we played better today against them than we did last time and that’s always a goal. In singles especially, I saw each of my three players fight extremely hard and they played well.”
The Cats have the Foothill League title in their sights. There is plenty of tennis left to play but with their current pace, West Ranch can repeat as league champs.
“The biggest factor is that all the boys have a desire and want to be back-to-back league champions,” said Resler. “Most of them are seniors and all these athletes have known me ever since they were freshmen.”
The Centurions will now have another tough matchup at Hart on Thursday while West Ranch will travel to Valencia for round two with the Vikings. Both matches are slated for 3 p.m.