First published in the Oct. 14 print issue of the San Marino Tribune.
The San Marino High School girls’ varsity tennis team took a giant step toward its 13th consecutive Rio Hondo League championship last Tuesday by collecting an 11-7 victory at rival La Cañada.
Sophomore Olivia Center won all three of her sets in singles play and the doubles team of senior Elaine Wu and junior Selena Wu also swept their three opponents to lay the foundation for victory as the visiting Titans improved to 4-0 in Rio Hondo League play (6-1 overall).
Other points came from freshman Giselle Gandakusuma, who went 2-1 in singles play, and the doubles teams of freshman Tianmei Wang and junior Isabelle Kang, who went 1-2 against La Cañada’s stacked doubles lineup. Senior Camdyn Wu and junior Valerie Kuo also collected key points, as did junior Katie Lui, who won a singles set as San Marino took the inside track toward the league championship.
“Olivia played very well,” said head coach Melwin Pereira of Center, who is new to the program. “She beat a ranked player in one of her sets.”
Elaine Wu and Selena Wu aren’t related, but the doubles team played like they are best friends.
“I just put them together and they played extremely well,” said Pereira.
Selena Wu is the defending Rio Hondo League singles champions and, as a freshman, Elaine Wu advanced to the semifinals of the CIF doubles competition.
San Marino dropped a 13-5 non-league match to powerhouse Arcadia earlier this year, but otherwise haven’t been touched. San Marino won its first two league matches of the season over Monrovia and Temple City by respective scores of 17-1 and 16-2, and last Thursday the Titans blanked South Pasadena 18-0.
Center, Selina Wu and Gandakusuma led the singles effort against South Pasadena while the doubles teams of Elaine Wu and Isabelle Kang, Tianmei Wang and Camdyn Wu, and Valerie Huo and Katie Lui rolled.
“This is a very young team and they are playing well,” said Pereira, who has guided San Marino to league championships in each of the last 12 seasons.
While San Marino certainly has the inside track to a league title, all La Cañada has to do is beat Titans by more than its 11-7 margin of victory when the Spartans visit San Marino on Thursday, Oct. 21, at 3:30 p.m.