(Editor's Note: Thanks to reader, Sue Ludwig, for sending in this report.)
High school girls' tennis in Southern California arguably has some of the best players in the nation, and no matter who is doing the rankings you always saw the same four teams in the top spots--Dana Hills, Peninsula, Campbell Hall and University.
No matter which two teams played, you knew that it was going to be an incredible match. With a new format beginning this year, CIF-SS Championships followed by the higher level CIF State Regional Championships, all four teams had a chance to play in a final.
In what used to be the highest level, the CIF-SS Finals, Campbell Hall defeated University 10-8. Two weeks later, playing in the inaugural CIF State Regional Championships, the same four teams were in the semi-finals, but this time Peninsula defeated University 4-3 and Dana Hills defeated Campbell Hall 4-3 (the CIF State Regionals has a different format, instead of 18 sets, they play four singles and three doubles, two out of threes sets, each worth one point).
The finals of the State Championships was scheduled for Nov. 17, but during the announcements of the line-ups the clouds unleashed their rain and the match was rescheduled for Dec. 1 at the Seal Beach Tennis Center, but it was moved to RCI after both teams arrived in Seal Beach to discover soaked courts.
Just as in the semi-final matchs for Dana Hills and Peninsula, where the winner came down to the final match, No. 1 Singles and No. 1 Doubles, respectively, the teams again found themselves tied at 3-3, and the Championship riding on the No. 4 singles match.
The Panthers changed up their line up, putting one of their No. 1 Doubles players in the No. 3 Doubles spot which led to an easy victory for the Dolphins' No. 1 Doubles team of Jessica Perez-Cassidy Spearman (6-1, 6-1) and a loss for the Dolphins' No. 3 Doubles team of Sabine Ludwig-Rebecca Gold in a tight second set (3-6, 5-7). Dolphins No. 1 Singles player, Alyssa Smith, let her talent and experience shine with a 6-2, 6-1 win over the very talented Ena Shibihara. No. 2 Doubles team of Margo Pletcher-AJ Gomer came out with a 6-4, 6-2 win and No. 2 Singles, Gressa Sempre and No. 3 Singles Karlee Budge were defeated by the powerful Peninsula players Annika Ringblom and Jasmine Hosseini, respectively.
Now all eyes were on the Dolphins' Sophomore Mona Mosavi in the final singles set. Peninsula players and fans surrounded one side of the court as Dana Hills' players and fans took over the other side. After losing the first set, 6-2, Mona came back and captured the next two sets 6-2, 6-4, giving Dana Hills the point they needed to seize the Championships.
Dolphins' coach Justin Green stated: "It was a total team effort out there today, we left Alyssa (Smith) in singles and loaded up our one and two doubles."
"Mona had a ton of pressure on her in that situation, and she really delievered for us."
Fighting back the emotion, Coach Green stated: "It's a great honor to win this tournament in its' first year and it's a great honor for our girls to be able the say that they are number 1."
December 01, 2012
Dana Hills Girls Varsity Tennis vs. Peninsula at RCI (3:00pm)
DANA HILLS 4, PENINSULA 3
SEASON 23-2; LEAGUE 8-0
2012 CIF USTA SOUTHERN REGIONAL GIRLS TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS
FINALS (format 4 singles, 3 doubles, 2 out of 3 sets regular scoring)
Singles: Alyssa Smith(DH) def. Ena Shibihara(PEN) 6-2, 6-1; Gressa Sempre(DH) lost to Annika Ringblom(PEN) 0-6, 2-6; Karlee Budge(DH) lost to Jasmine Hosseini(PEN) 2-6, 0-6; Mona Mosavi(DH) def. Sarah Khattab(PEN) 2-6, 6-2, 6-4.
Doubles: Jessica Perez-Cassidy Spearman(DH) def. Sachi Carlson-Cara Kemp(PEN) 6-1, 6-1; Margo Pletcher-AJ Gomer(DH) def. Rachel Martinez-Gala Strong(PEN) 6-4, 6-2; Sabine Ludwig-Rebecca Gold(DH) lost to Risa Nakagawa-Ashley Yin(PEN) 3-6, 5-7.