In reshuffling the deck for Tuesday’s CIF USTA Southern Regional Girls’ Tennis Championships first round matchup, San Marino High Coach Melwin Pereira was also rolling the dice.
With three standout singles players on his roster, Pereira saw an opportunity to move two of them to doubles in a bid to sweep the three doubles matches, but also have one left over to ensure a win in at least one of the four singles matches in the best-of-seven format.
He did so with the slight risk that the switch might backfire, but wisely trusted his players, who rewarded the team with a 4-3 win over eighth-seeded host La Jolla of the San Diego Section.
"Our doubles came through because we moved our singles players to doubles," said Pereira, whose team (20-3), which won the Southern Section Division II crown on Saturday, will play top-seeded Southern Section Division I titlist Campbell Hall in the quarterfinals at 12 p.m. on Friday at the Claremont Club. "Whoever gets to four wins. I tried to play my cards right, so I picked the best four. It’s a completely different format [than the regular season and CIF playoffs]."
Vivian Le and Devon Jack, who have been mainstays in the fifth-seeded Titans’ singles lineup all season, teamed up in doubles Tuesday and defeated La Jolla’s Kelly Hum and Chloe Kuo, 6-4, 6-0.
"It’s not easy to move a singles player to doubles. You have to get them mentally ready and I know my girls," Pereira said. "Vivian already had some doubles experience. They had never teamed up together, but they knew the system and knew what they had to do and I helped through the match a bit."
The rest of the Titans doubles took care of business, as well, with the team of Larissa Phillips and Madeleine Gandawidjaja sweeping, 7-5, 6-0, over Kelly Chan and Taylor Morhardt and Lauren Chang and Monique Gandawidjaja posting a 6-1, 6-0 win over Sydney Moses and Erin Tobias.
Dorothy Tang provided the clincher in singles with a 6-3, 6-0 win over Rozel Hernandez to set up Friday’s meeting with Campbell Hall, of which Pereira’s daughter is a member.
"It’s going to be tough," Pereira said of facing Campbell Hall, which defeated San Marino, 13-5, in a regular-season meeting on Oct. 17. "They are champions of Division I and it’s going to be tough."