By Keith Lair, San Gabriel Valley Tribune
GIRLS TENNIS PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Senior, West Covina
The West Covina High School tennis team knew it would be certain of one thing each match.
If Taylor Valenzuela was available, the Bulldogs would practically be guaranteed three singles points.
It was a tough season for Valenzuela and the Bulldogs. West Covina won only one-quarter of its matches (5-14) and finished fifth in Hacienda League play (3-7). The Bulldogs won three matches at 11-7, two against league rival Los Altos, and against Edgewood. West Covina also defeated Diamond Ranch and Northview by 10-8 scores.
“It was a little frustrating, but we had a new team and everything,” she said. “We had all new girls. We did better this year than last year. All I wanted to do was for us to do a little better than last year and we had improvement.”
Valenzuela missed only one match, a nonleague match against Wilson, and the Bulldogs were swept 18-0.
The senior had to bide her time for the league tournament to get payback. She defeated freshman Vianna Sanapauya of Walnut to win the league individual title for the third consecutive time. It earned Valenzuela San Gabriel Valley Tribune Player of the Year honors.
“An undefeated season meant a lot to me,” she said. “My season went better than I expected.”
She said not winning the league title her freshman year was her inspiration for her final three years.
“I said, ‘I’m not going to let that happen again,’” she said. “That’s when I really got committed.”
Valenzuela reached the second round of the CIF Southern Section individual tournament to end her season, her lone loss of the season.