LA CAÑADA — Both the La Cañada and South Pasadena high girls’ tennis teams came into Tuesday’s Rio Hondo League match looking to continue a strong start to the league season and remain undefeated.
The host Spartans earned that right by getting sweeps from their No. 1 and 2 singles players and doubles teams in a 12-6 victory at home.
La Cañada Coach Will Moravec said the win puts his team right where he expected coming into the season.
“Our [preseason] goal was to come in second in league,” Moravec said. “I think that we are on track. We are where we should be.”
South Pasadena Coach Jim Asher said he knew his team was in trouble coming into the match with two starters, Taylor Levine and Mae Chung, out with a shoulder and ankle injury, respectively.
“You obviously never know, but it could have been a very different outcome if we had them ready,” Asher said.
The Spartans (5-5, 2-0 in league) also played without Sydney Fischel, their usual No. 1 singles player, after she pulled a muscle last week. Moravec hopes to have her back in two weeks.
Levine and Chung normally play in South Pas’ No. 1 and 2 doubles teams, respectively. Their absences forced Asher to make wholesale changes to his doubles lineup, something he said no coach ever wants to do.
“We had to pull people from different teams, recombine the teams and call up three [junior varsity] players to play today,” said Asher, adding that he hopes to have both Chung and Levine back by South Pas’ next match. “It was tough figuring out who goes where.”
La Cañada’s top two doubles teams — Linnea Frazier and Alison Chang and Emily Swanson and Serena Zhang — took advantage of the confusion and swept their competition. Swanson and Zhang picked up 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 wins. Frazier and Chang rolled, too, 6-1, 6-2, 6-1.
“We go out there hoping we will win all three,” Frazier said. “It doesn’t always happen that way, but when it does we’re super excited.”
The Spartans top two singles players, Sharon Kim and Sawa Keymueler, were sharp as well. Kim earned 6-3, 6-2, 6-0 wins and Keymueler only dropped two games, 6-1, 6-1, 6-0.
“I wasn’t expecting [to sweep] because I didn’t feel I was playing my best,” Keymueler said. “I guess it paid off because sometimes I expect a lot and do worse.”
Moravec said Keymueler has emerged as a model of consistency for La Cañada this year.
“Sawa is going to get two wins every match, unless we play a team with a lot of tournament players,” Moravec said.
South Pasadena (4-6, 1-1 in league) was able to capitalize against La Cañada’s No. 3 singles player and doubles team, as each Tiger defeated the Spartans’ No. 3 players. The most lopsided win came when Tiffany Tenn and Tiffany Chen, the Tigers’ No. 1 doubles team, got a 6-0 win. Jordan Cruz, South Pasadena’s No. 3 singles player, got a 6-1 victory.
Moravec hopes what he saw from his team Tuesday will carry on throughout the rest of the season.
“We are where I want to be,” Moravec said. “We are playing good tennis right now and it has to be now because we are in league. It feels good.”