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New coach and lots of returnees give girls tennis team a buzz of excitement for 2013



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August 07, 2013
Va l l e y C e n t e r ' s varsity tennis teams have always been competitive, but in recent years, the team's overall results haven't always been the most encouraging.

But under new head coach Seth Leichtfuss, and with a team returning four of its top players from last year, the Lady Jaguars have a reason to be excited about the 2013 season. The team graduated only two seniors — Brooke Roche and Rosie Hughes—and returns its top two singles players and the top doubles team.

"Only losing two seniors last year and having everyone form the varsity team returning to the court this year bodes well for the team," Coach Leichtfuss says. "Many of the Lady Jags have been practicing and playing in tournaments in the off-season, which will have an immediate impact on their performance from the get go. We're still a very young team with only three seniors on the squad, so gaining valuable playing experience and confidence will be a key to our success."

Junior Olivia Spencer is poised to once again take the No. 1 singles spot she held last year as a sophomore, and will look to bounce back from a wrist injury that kept her out of the Valley League tournament at the end of last season. Senior Kristina Mansueto is once again expected to play second singles, while the third singles spot could go to Natalie Zorrillo, who was the top singles player on the JV team last year. Bethany Banuelos could also challenge for a spot in the singles rotation after playing No. 2 singles for the JV team last season. The top doubles team of senior Lexi Striler and sophomore Kaitlyn Hillard returns after winning a Valley League playoff that earned them the fifth spot in the CIF tournament last year. The duo won the first CIF match, but fell to San Pasqual in the second, no doubt fueling the fire to advance even further this season.

"With seven of the nine starters returning this year, we should expect an even stronger team who hope to push deeper into the playoff this year," says Coach Leichtfuss. "We have several hard hitters on the team which makes for some fun and exciting tennis to watch."

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