Campbell Hall High has benefited from a transfer of power. Or two, actually.
Melissa Nguyen came to the Vikings from Beverly Hills High and Sarah Senechal arrived via The Meadows School in Las Vegas to help Campbell Hall to a 6-0 start.
Nguyen, a junior, fills the No. 1 singles slot for the Vikings, and Senechal, also a junior, has played at No. 2 and 3 singles and on the third doubles team with Amanda Kain.
“I think we’re going to have a good season,” Senechal said. “This is a much stronger team than I was on last year.”
That is largely because of Nguyen and Senechal.
“Instead of matches where it would be 10-8 or close, they give us a margin of error,” Campbell Hall Coach Ben Harvey said. “If it comes down to games, I know we’re going win.”
Nguyen, who played No. 1 singles at Beverly Hills, is No. 23 in Southern California Tennis Assn. girls’ 16 rankings and hits regularly with UCLA tennis player Noah Newman under the tutelage of her private coach, Bruce Foxworth.
“She’s tenacious,” Harvey said. “She goes to practice after practice. She’s worked on the game, and it shows.”
Nguyen is 18-0 in setsand has won golden sets--not giving up a point--against Lori Simpson of Village Christian and Jin Soo Choi of Glendale on consecutive days last week.
Senechal is not as polished as Nguyen but is versatile and adds depth to the Vikings’ lineup. She is 7-2 in doubles and 5-1 in singles.
“You ask her to do something and she does it,” Harvey said. “She’s a coach’s dream.”
The coach says the transfers will help close the gap between the Vikings and rivals Brentwood and Pasadena Poly, which advanced to the Division V final last season, when Campbell Hall was knocked out of the playoffs in the quarterfinals.
Pasadena Poly beat Brentwood to win the division championship.
“We’re up there with them now,” Harvey said. “Without those two girls, we would be exactly the same quarterfinal team we were last year, with no chance of anything more. Just the addition of those two puts us way over where we were last year.”
When Westlake defeated Thousand Oaks, 18-0, on Thursday, it was the first time the Warriors (6-0, 2-0 in Marmonte League play) shut out the Lancers, according to Westlake Coach Connie Flanderka.
The Lancers (1-5, 1-2) are rebuilding after losing three singles players to graduation.
The Camarillo girls’ team was seeking tough competition, and the Scorpions found it.
After losing a tight opener to Agoura, 10-8, the Scorpions (2-3) earned each of their victories on games after tying Santa Barbara and Buena, 9-9.
Against Santa Barbara, Camarillo won on games, 67-62. Against Buena, it was 72-70.
The victories are a switch for the better for second-year Coach Chad Pridgen, whose Scorpion boys’ team did not fare as well last spring.
“I’m pretty happy to come out on the winning end of these things,” he said. “We lost so many 10-8 and 9-9 matches with the boys, it wasn’t even funny. This has been very atypical and very interesting for me.”
So has the Scorpions’ schedule, which includes 10-8 losses to San Marcos and Beverly Hills.
“The parity between the top teams in the region is really neat,” Pridgen said. “We went out and found the toughest competition we could. It makes it hard, but it’s also challenging and interesting.”
Especially for the the players, who hope to capitalize on the arduous nonleague schedule during the postseason. The Scorpions plan to make the playoffs after their switch from the Marmonte League to the weaker Pacific View League.
Camarillo, last year’s co-champion in the Marmonte League, becomes the favorite in the new league, which also includes Channel Islands, Oxnard and Rio Mesa.
“There’s really no one,” Pridgen said. “Making the playoffs is no longer the challenge. I think maintaining readiness is the challenge now.”
So far, the Scorpions have proven up to it.
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The Top 5
Rankings of regional girls’ tennis teams
RK LW School (League) 1. 1 Simi Valley (Marmonte) 2. 2 Westlake (Marmonte) 3. 4 Harvard-Westlake (Mission) 4. 3 Calabasas (Frontier) 5. 5 Hart (Foothill)