LA CAÑADA — Coming into 2013, hopes were high and centered on a Rio Hondo League title for the La Cañada High girls’ tennis team.
One way or another, the Spartans were going to find out how they stacked up in Rio Hondo and CIF Southern Section Division II when they opened league with a home match against reigning league and CIF champion San Marino Tuesday afternoon.
La Cañada, which hasn’t won a league title since 2006, fell behind two sets early and never could recover against the Titans in an 11-7 loss. It continued a frustrating week for the Spartans after they dropped a nonleague match on the road to Arcadia Monday, 10-8, and fell to 5-4, 0-1 in league.
Ultimately, the matchups weren’t in La Cañada’s favor, Spartans Coach Will Moravec said.
“That’s why San Marino is good, they don’t make any mistakes,” said Moravec, whose team had a good chance to jump into the Division II rankings with wins over the top-ranked Titans or seventh-ranked Arcadia. “They play solid tennis all around.”
Ally McKenzie was the only player to win multiple sets for the Spartans. Moravec dropped her to No. 3 singles for the big match and she responded by winning her first two sets against San Marino’s Cindy Chawa (6-0) and Madeline Gandawidjaja (6-4).
Trailing the Titans No. 1 player Devon Jack, 2-1, in her final set, McKenzie appeared to pull a leg muscle. She quickly fell behind, 4-1, and retired once the final outcome was secured by San Marino (5-1, 2-0).
Moravec was unsure of the seriousness of the injury, but did say from his experience, it could possibly keep her out a week or two.
“It depends how bad it is,” Moravec said. “If she was playing somebody besides Devon Jack she could walk through the match and still win. When you’re playing Devon, [Gandawidjaja] and these other USTA girls you have to have all your cylinders going. If there’s any flaw they’re good enough to take advantage of it.”
If one thing simultaneously encouraged and discouraged Moravec Tuesday, it was the play of his doubles after it dropped all nine sets to Arcadia the day before. All three teams posted a victory after the second and third teams were shuffled.
“Our doubles did better than yesterday, which is a little frustrating,” he said, “because obviously we could have used this type of effort and would have won yesterday.”