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Thunder tennis blanks Rio Americano, McClatchy in preseason play

Rocklin takes on the tough teams to prepare for league
By: Andrew Hazard Gold Country Media Sports Correspondent
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The Rocklin High School varsity girls tennis team began its 2011 season with matches last week against 2010 champions in their respective leagues, Davis, McClatchy and Rio Americano high schools. Thunder head coach Dale Eckenburg said every match up to this point is to prepare the Thunder for league play later in the season. “We want the girls to understand good tennis and be ready for the (Sierra Foothill League).” Eckenburg said. Rocklin defeated the Raiders 9-0. It was a bit of payback for Eckenburg’s squad who lost to Rio Americano in last year’s playoffs. Senior Stefanie Studen stepped up big time for the Thunder. “Stefanie is a great player who returned this week after sustaining a dog bite to the ankle,” Eckenburg said. “She picked up right were she left off last year getting better with her mental game by setting up the point with a game plan in place.” Studen is now 2-1 this season. Rocklin’s doubles teams played well, also. Senior Holly Petersen and sophomore Sangeetha Ramamurthy won in straight sets against McClatchy High School and Rio Americano. Eckenburg said the pair is really starting to find their rhythm together. He likes what he has seen from Petersen, so far. “Holly is a wonderful young lady who is starting to hit the ball with authority and beginning to push her opponents back, which will allow the girls to control the net,” Eckenburg said. The Thunder defeated McClatchy’s Lions at home 9-0. Sophomore Alyssa Mattchen and junior Amber Calzada teamed up to win their doubles match 6-4, 6-4. Junior Shelby Kubota, sophomore Molly Garcia-Kaer and junior Jessica Miller all won their matches in three sets. Senior Shannon Peiffer is 5-0 this season. She has only lost three sets overall in 2011. Ramamurthy has really been key so far for the Thunder. She is 3-0 in doubles play and even though she is 0-2 in singles play, she stepped up to play while Studen was not competing. Eckenburg said his team’s summer offseason conditioning really helped them out in all three matches. “We came out on August 8th and wanted to get comfortable with the heat and work hard,” Eckenburg said, “We have to win the three set matches, and we did today.”