Three local girls’ tennis teams finish as runner-up at CIF finals
Fountain Valley High girls’ tennis coach Harshul Patel hoped to bring home two CIF titles Friday.
Patel’s daughter Aditi, a senior captain for Tesoro, helped the Titans win the CIF Southern Section Division 1 title at the Claremont Club. That was indeed a special moment for the family.
“She came out crying and she hugged me,” Harshul said. “It was very much emotional. I was so proud of her, for us, for me being a dad. I’ve got 72 girls [in the program], and my daughter plays on the other side of the fence.”
Patel’s Barons couldn’t quite join Tesoro in the winner’s circle.
Fountain Valley lost to Beverly Hills, 11-7, in the Division 2 title match.
Two other local girls’ tennis teams also earned CIF runner-up finishes.
In Division 3, Northwood topped Pacific Coast League rival Sage Hill, 12-6.
In Division 4, Pacifica Christian Orange County fell to top-seeded Alhambra Mark Keppel, 13-5.
The Division 2 final was tight, but Fountain Valley fell into an early deficit and couldn’t quite get all the way back.
“We came up a little short, but we had a great run,” Patel said. “We really lost to a legit, great singles team. Their singles players came out firing, and we didn’t really have a shot against their No. 1 and 2.”
Fountain Valley trailed 4-2 after the first round and the deficit grew to 6-2, but the No. 4-seeded Barons (14-6) won some big doubles sets to get back into the match.
With No. 2 Beverly Hills (20-0) up 9-7 in the last round, the Normans’ doubles team of Eugena Lee and Bella Shtorch beat Barons duo Sophie Vu and Katie Dang for the clinching 10th set.
Nicole Gorbacheva and Anna Shirkman swept in singles for Beverly Hills, which was able to cap an undefeated season.
The doubles teams of Rene Do and Anh Thu Truong, as well as Kendra Ly and Melody Hom, each won twice for Fountain Valley. Vu and Katie Lam also won a set.
Barons singles players Gisele Rico, Katelyn Nguyen and Jaslyn Nguyen won one set each.
“Tennis has been our life the last four years,” said Do, a senior co-captain along with Hom, who was emotional after her final set ended. “To think that it’s over now, it’s sad. But I’m not really sad about our season. I’m really proud of the girls because we made it this far. We trained for this, and only two teams get to make it this far.”
Patel said the Wave League co-champion Barons were the first girls’ tennis team from the Huntington Beach Union High School District to advance to a Division 2 or higher CIF title match.
Division 3: Sage Hill fought Pacific Coast League rival Northwood until the end, but the Timberwolves came away with a 12-6 win, denying the Lightning their second CIF championship in program history.
The teams had split their two league meetings this season.
Junior Arden Stobart had a singles sweep for the Lightning on Friday, including a tough 6-4 win over Northwood’s Burcu Turunc in the opening round.
Sage Hill‘s No. 2 and No. 3 singles players, Alexia Bayrath and Ella Wong, won one set each, but the Lightning were only able to win one doubles set. It came in the first round, as seniors Ava Herin and Kana Byrd topped Northwood’s Kelly Au and Yu Chen, 7-6 (7-2).
In another marathon first-round doubles match, Northwood’s Kelly Zhang and Zoe Guo topped Sage Hill’s Sunny Sun and Aryana Shamlou, 7-6 (15-13).
Sage Hill was tied 3-3 after the first round, but fell behind 7-5 after two rounds.
“A little anxious,” Stobart said of playing the Timberwolves for the third time this season. “The first time we lost, the second time it was a close match. But I thought we had a good team. It’s unfortunate that we lost [today], but I think we did our best.”
Division 4: Pacifica Christian Orange County accomplished a lot in its third varsity season.
They split the San Joaquin League championship, their first in program history, and made an unseeded run to Friday’s Division 4 title match.
They lost there, falling to top-seeded Alhambra Mark Keppel by a 13-5 score.
Senior captain Bree Clarke won twice in singles for Pacifica Christian (15-4), while Kiana Guinta and Lexie Macdougal won one singles set each.
Like Sage Hill, Pacifica Christian was able to win just one doubles set. Aubrey Callaghan and Charlie Rogers earned a tiebreaker win over Keppel’s Trisha Buranabul and Kelly Hu in the second round.
“We’re really happy,” Pacifica Christian coach Donald Roberson said. “The kids have had a great season. The girls have great character and they’re all fighters. They don’t give up.”
Clarke said it was the best senior year she could have imagined.
“It’s insane,” she said. “I give all the credit to my team. We got so close this year. I’ve never seen the drive and commitment from a team like this.”
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