LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — There's yet to be a worthy challenger for the San Marino High girls' tennis team in the Rio Hondo League this year.
While La Cañada was able to improve slightly on its previous loss to San Marino Tuesday at home, it still came nowhere close to a victory in a 17-1 defeat at the hands of the Titans.
The lopsided win left San Marino, which defeated the Spartans, 18-0, on Sept. 20 and has won by 16 or more points through five league matches this year, with plenty of leeway to rotate in substitutes and the chance to fine tune its game in preparation for the CIF Southern Section Division II playoffs.
"We are just working and getting ready for CIF, that's just what we're working on," said first-year San Marino Coach Melwin Pereira, who coached the Titans boys in 2011. "We have certain things we have to do so we just look at it and work on it for CIF. We have to be ready for CIF because I really don't know what players are out there, how good they are and what their strengths are. I just want to be ready because I'm new. I want them to be thinking ahead on what's going to happen."
While a win was far out of reach for La Cañada High Coach Will Moravec and the Spartans (7-5, 3-2 in league), he was still proud of his team's performance against the No. 1-ranked team in Division II. The goal is for them to believe they can win against teams like San Marino.
"Whenever you play somebody good it's about belief," Moravec said. "We're still out there second guessing ourselves. … We had a mini goal to not lose 18-0 again and we didn't."
The Titans (9-2, 5-0) received three-set sweeps from Vivian Le in No. 2 singles, 6-1, 6-1, 6-0, and Sasha Gabig and Aliki Kuitne in No. 2 doubles, 6-0, 7-5, 6-2, with the rest of San Marino's players being subbed out in their final set.
San Marino ace Dorothy Tang won both her sets by 6-0 scores before being subbed out for Celestine Yeh (6-0) with freshman Devon Jack giving up just one game, 6-1, 6-0, before Rebecca Shieh (6-2) filled in at No. 3 singles.
"The matches that we have an easier time winning we just try to focus on a couple things per match, things that help our game and not really focus on winning because that will come later," Jack said.
Larissa Phillips and Madeleine Gandawidjaja won both sets in No. 1 doubles, 6-2, 6-0, for the Titans before coming out for Maddi Schmidt and Emma Tan (6-1). Andrea Klein and Lauren Chang accounted for San Marino's last two points, 6-3, 6-1.
La Cañada's victory came from its No. 1 doubles team of Alison Chang and Sharyse Watanabe, which defeated Klein and Chang, 7-6, and won two games off Phillips and Gandawidjaja.