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KEVIN SULLIVAN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Valencia players celebrates their 12-6 victory over Yorba Linda in the girls tennis CIF-SS Division 3 championships at the Claremont Club Friday.

Valencia too much for Yorba Linda in Division 3 final

STAFF WRITER

CLAREMONT - There was no real need for introductions pre-match.

The Valencia and Yorba Linda girls tennis teams were plenty familiar with one another even before Friday’s CIF-Southern Section Division 3 final, having played each other two months ago.

The faces were the same. The score line ultimately was too.

In this installment, the Tigers opened up with fire and drive and sealed their championship fate well before the match’s conclusion.

Top-seeded Valencia locked up the Division 3 crown by the end of the second round, topping Yorba Linda, 12-6, to capture the program’s fourth CIF crown under Coach Mike McCall at the Claremont Club.

“It’s a very special feeling,” McCall said. “Over the course of coaching these girls for four years, you get very close and spend a lot of time together. I’m really just happy for them.”

It was last November that the Tigers (21-2) finished on the wrong side of the division’s championship finale, falling to Pasadena Poly, 10-8.

By winning five sets in Friday’s opening round, Valencia nixed any thought of yet another nail-biter.

“They were on a mission and we were just in their way today,” Yorba Linda coach Ray Lejano explained. “Their doubles won eight out of nine against us. They were incredible.

“You could see that they were here last year and used that experience to make a commitment and get it done this year.”

In addition to the stellar play on its doubles side, Valencia’s Emilee Duong continued to dominate in singles. The Tigers junior went 3-0 on Friday, posting score lines of 6-2, 6-0 and 6-0.

“It feels like we accomplished something really big that we’ve been working towards the whole season,” Duong said. “This was our goal. … Playing relaxed was the big thing for us.”

Being familiar with the courts, their opponent and the prize at hand, the Tigers led 5-1 after the first round and took a 9-1 lead rather quickly in the second.

Yorba Linda finished with a 14-9 record. It made huge strides after starting the year at 3-7. Junior Emily Valenciano went 2-1 in singles for the Mustangs, who notched three of their six team points in the third round.

Contact the writer: kconnolly@ocregister.com


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