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Warriors begin tennis season with wins over Oceanside, Orange Glen

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

Fallbrook High School’s girls tennis team began the Warriors’ 2022 season Aug. 23 with an 11-7 home win against Oceanside, and Fallbrook then defeated Orange Glen by a 17-1 margin Aug. 25 in Fallbrook.

“It was about what I thought they would probably do,” said Fallbrook coach Bill Lenaway.

A high school tennis match consists of each of a school’s three singles players contesting sets against each of the other school’s singles players and each of a school’s three doubles teams facing each of the other school’s doubles tandems. A team thus must have at least nine players to avoid forfeiting sets. The Fallbrook team has 18 girls, allowing for nine of them to be on the varsity and nine to play junior varsity competition if the opponent has a JV team.

Fallbrook will travel to the Riviera Oaks courts in Ramona, where Ramona High School’s home matches are played, Sept. 13 to begin Valley League play for both teams. Last year, Fallbrook had an 8-2 Valley League record for second place in the standings. Mission Hills was undefeated against league opposition and won the league championship while Ramona was 6-4 and finished third.

Mission Hills lost seven 2021 seniors while five of last year’s Ramona players graduated. Fallbrook had two seniors last year: Alexa Guadarrama made the girls singles finals of the previous two Valley League tournaments and finished third as a sophomore while Carly Hawkins was part of last year’s #1 doubles team.

Eleven of last year’s Fallbrook players return to the 2022 team. Lenaway has designated sophomore Leyla Homuth as the Warriors’ #1 singles player and junior Angie Palmerin as Fallbrook’s #2 singles netter.

“Our #3 singles player is not really set in stone yet. We’re kind of experimenting with some things,” Lenaway said.

That includes utilizing Hawkins’ doubles partner, current senior Sam Hanlon, as the #3 singles player. Hanlon took that role against Oceanside and teamed with senior Frida Hernandez in doubles against Orange Glen while sophomore Kady Manion was the starting #3 singles player against the Patriots.

“The lineup right now is very fluid,” Lenaway said. “Until we get to league, I’ll probably continue to move people around.”

The Fallbrook newcomers include assistant coach Sandi Badali, who taught in Florida for 30 years before retiring and was the boys tennis and girls tennis coach at New Smyrna Beach High School for 16 years. “That was my life for so long,” Badali said.

Badali returned to teaching and joined the Fallbrook High School faculty in 2020, which made her part of the school staff along with Lenaway. “He knew I had experience,” Badali said.

She actually had no assistant coach experience, so this year is Badali’s first as an assistant. “It’s been great,” she said.

In the match against Oceanside, Homuth won three 6-0 sets. Palmerin won one singles set, and that was by a 6-0 margin. Hanlon had one singles win which had a 6-2 score. The doubles team of seniors Tracy Lopez and Erin Rowan, who also played together on the varsity as sophomores and juniors, won all three sets against the Pirates with two of those being by 6-2 margins and one having a 6-3 result. Grace Ahrend and Olivia Searle, who are sophomores and who played together last year, won a pair of 6-2 doubles sets while losing to the Pirates’ #1 doubles tandem. Manion and senior Cynthia Flor won a 6-2 doubles set.

“I think it was a decent score,” Lenaway said of the 11-7 victory.

Orange Glen brought 11 girls to Fallbrook, so there was no junior varsity match.

Fallbrook had a 12-0 lead over the Patriots after the first two rounds. “I subbed everybody out,” Lenaway said. “I put nine girls in.”

That gave Orange Glen the dignity of not being shut out – the Patriots won a 6-4 set for a doubles point – while also giving the newest Fallbrook players varsity match experience. Two of the Fallbrook wins in the third round involved a tie breaking game to seven points after each player won six games.


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