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Eagle tennis team posts satisfying wins over Cosumnes Oaks, River City

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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If there’s a word to describe Vista del Lago’s tennis team’s wins over Cosumnes Oaks and River City this week, it’s satisfying.

The Eagles started with a 5-4 win Tuesday over Cosumnes Oaks. Not only was it a match played in high winds and rain, but it also came against a team that appealed the Eagles’ previous 6-3 win March 14 and won, thereby turning the loss into a 5-4 victory. Vista badly wanted revenge and got it.

Two days later against previously unbeaten and Sierra Valley Conference leading River City, Vista played a strong match and turned a previous 6-3 loss into a 6-3 win, as their improved their record to 9-2 in league and 11-2 overall.

In an e-mail Vista coach Rich Klingensmith sent out to the team recapping the match, he told his team they were the best. After losing four three-set matches the last time, Vista came through with the wins needed to take the match.

“I changed the lineup this time and we were more prepared,” Klingensmith said. “Last time they had moved their top player to No. 1 doubles so I did the same with our guy, Sandeep Gurram, and it came out favorable to us.”

Gurram teamed with Priyank Varshney to win the match after losing the first set 6-7 (4-7), rebounding to win 6-3 and then 10-2 in a super tiebreaker. Meanwhile, Gus Hendrick moved from No. 2 singles to No. 1 and still came out in front 6-1, 6-3, while Gage Huber stepped into the No. 2 singles role and won impressively, 6-0, 6-4.

“Gage has stepped up on the boys’ side and really done a good job,” Klingensmith said.

On the girls’ side, Anjelica Frank defeated her opponent 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7-2) at No. 2 singles, in a what Klingensmith called “the match of the day.”

“It was very clutch playing by Anjelica and a well-earned win,” he said.

Jingwen Low dropped a hard-fought match at No. 1 singles, 6-7 (7-5), 6-2, 2-10.

The Vista boys swept doubles play, as Akshay Rathish and Julian Rodkiewicz picked up a 6-4, 6-3 win at No. 2 doubles.

Saiyeesh Rathish and Renee Beckwith earned a 6-3, 7-5 win in mixed doubles, while Vista lost both the girls’ doubles matches. Arielle Frank and Danica Greenall fell 6-2, 2-6 8-10, while Hannah Avdalovic and Courtney Gallion dropped a 6-0, 6-0 decision.

The Eagles have great depth, particularly on the boys’ side, which has helped make them one of the top teams in the area.

“Sandeep and Gus are pretty much head and shoulders above everyone else and my No. 3 through 7 players, even nine, are almost interchangeable,” Klingensmith said. “On the girls’ side, there are stronger girls around, but we are solid. River City is strong on the girls’ side and Cosumnes Oaks is strong on the boys’ side and that plays to our favor in that neither team is strong in both areas.”

Vista wraps up regular season play Tuesday at Liberty Ranch before postseason play begins with the league tournament. Vista hopes to challenge defending Division III champions Placer in this year’s section tournament. Last year the Hillmen knocked Vista out in the semifinals, 8-1.

“Placer’s been a strong team in the past so we’re looking to rev up and take them on,” Klingensmith said. “As long as we practice hard and take each match and point seriously, we can continue to challenge teams.”