by Mitch Lehman
“This team should be seeded,” Lady Titan Coach Melwin Pereira whispered on that chilly evening last week as his squad struggled with the Wolfpack. “They are very good.”
Truer words were never spoken as San Marino won the final four matches of the semifinal to break a 7-all gridlock for an 11-7 victory. With Claremont out of the way, San Marino dispatched the Apaches with relative ease, claiming a 14-4 win, third CIF title for the girls’ tennis program in the last four years and sixty-eighth in the school’s history.
Looking to gain an early advantage, Arcadia Coach Jerry Dohling asked some serious questions by tinkering with his standard lineup, but San Marino had all the answers. In California high school tennis, each of three singles players from one institution plays a set against each of the three singles players from their opponent – same goes for doubles. Though Dohling knew his better players would eventually be forced to run the gauntlet against San Marino’s finest, he rearranged his lineup to try and carve out an early lead.
It didn’t work.
The Lady Titans’ third doubles team of Andrea Klein and Aliki Kvitne upset Arcadia’s apple cart in garnering a 6-2 win over Tiffany Hsieh and Ashley Gao, the Apache’s true #1 duo.
“That was a big break and a good start for us,” said Pereira.
Ahead 4-2 as the first of the three rounds came to an end, San Marino put the pedal to the metal, sweeping doubles action and winning two of three singles matches in the second round to claim a 9-3 advantage, which forced Arcadia to sweep the six remaining matches and gain a tie or advantage in individual games. Complicated, yes, and thankfully – Arcadia didn’t even come close.
Rio Hondo League singles champion Dorothy Tang defeated Arcadia’s Francis Dean – her Pacific League counterpart – by a final score of 6-1 for the winning point, the second time in her illustrious career Tang has tallied championship point. Tang was 3-0 in singles action while junior Vivian Le and Devon Jack went 2-1.
San Marino’s #1 doubles squad of senior Larissa Phillips & freshman Madeleine Gandawidjaja – like Tang, undefeated Rio Hondo League champions – won all three of their sets while senior Lauren Chang & junior Monique Gandawidjaja and senior Andrea Klein & junior Aliki Kvitne won two of their three sets to complete the 14-4 effort.
The Lady Titans opened their quest for the CIF State championship on Tuesday afternoon with a 4-3 win at La Jolla, playing under a format whereby four singles players and three doubles duos play a single, best-of-three, head-to-head match.
Tomorrow, San Marino heads back to the Claremont Club for a State quarterfinal matchup with Campbell Hall, a team which defeated the Lady Titans ina pre-league contest and is led by – Alexis Pereira – the daughter of San Marino’s coach.
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