Lancers roll through wild-card round again

ARCADIA — There are two consistent elements in regards to the La Salle High girls’ tennis team and the CIF Southern Section playoffs.

Not only do the Lancers reach the postseason on a seemingly annual basis, but they also seem to stick around.

For a seventh consecutive season, the Lancers advanced out of the wild-card round, this time defeating visiting Bellflower, 14-4, in Tuesday afternoon’s Division IV playoffs at the Orange Grove Tennis Court.

With the win, the Del Rey League runner-up Lancers (9-7-1) will spend their Halloween afternoon at Los Padres League champion Santa Ynez (18-2) as both meet at 2.

“I didn’t expect and I didn’t exactly know what was going to happen today,” Lancers Coach Tim Pawley said. “Bellflower came in today kind of in the same boat as us in being a league second-place team and I’m pleased with how we played.”

The last team match for La Salle was a disappointing 12-6 loss to Bishop Montgomery on Oct. 18 that kept the Lancers from clinching a share of the league championship.

In that contest, the Lancers notched only three wins each on the singles and doubles sides.
Fast forward to Tuesday and La Salle picked up six victories on the singles side via 3-0 sweeps from No. 1 player Chloe Beauvois (6-2, 6-1, 6-3) and No. 2 player Claire Fitzgerald (6-1, 6-2, 6-2).

“It’s exciting how we did today and it’s exciting being in CIF because we feel we have a chance,” said Fitzgerald, whose best win was a 6-1 triumph versus Buccaneers ace Stephanie Bandera. “We all came out and did our best and it paid off.”

Beauvois, the Del Rey League individual runner-up, set the tone early in topping Bandera, 6-2, in the day’s first completed set and followed that win up with a 6-3 triumph against Kajal Patel.

“Our goal this year was to beat Bishop Montgomery, since we’ve never beat them, but it didn’t happen and we’ve got to move on,” Beauvois said. “We’re now just focused on CIF and playing out best.”

La Salle’s lead was never in doubt against Suburban League runner-up Bellflower (9-8), as the Lancers jumped ahead, 5-1, thanks to a doubles first-round sweep, which included a thrilling 7-5 victory from the Lancers’ No. 3 team of Alessandra Trager and Steffi Sibal over Marin Valendez and Christen Jackson.

Overall, La Salle’s doubles squads enjoyed a robust day as all three teams combined to go 8-1.

La Salle’s top duo of Paige Graves and Alison Chi had an interesting day that included a second-round 7-6 win over Valendez and Jackson and a final 6-2 triumph over Bellflower’s No. 2 squad in which Graves and Chi asked for linesmen despite the Lancers having already clinched the match and with the duo comfortably ahead, 3-0.

The Lancers’ No. 2 pair of Aubrey Deneen and Monica Perez also finished 3-0 in never surrendering more than two games in any set, while Trager and Sibal finished 2-1.

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