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Dana Hills stuns No. 1, but University falls
CLAREMONT – Two Orange County girls tennis teams had a chance to make it to the championship round of the inaugural USTA Southern Regional on Friday — Dana Hills and No. 3 seed University.
Both advanced to the semifinals, but only the fifth-seeded Dolphins (18-2) will play Saturday for the right to be called Southern California's best.
Both teams began the day having to win second-round matches at The Claremont Club, and both did so convincingly. The Dolphins swept No. 4 seed Granada Hills (14-1), 7-0, and the Trojans (21-4) dominated No. 11 seed Arcadia (21-2), 6-1. The real test for both teams came in the semifinals.
The Trojans were the first to play in the round of four and were counting on their doubles teams to bring home the victory.
After losing three out of the four single matches to No. 7 seed Peninsula (22-3) of Rolling Hills Estates, the Trojans knew they had to sweep the doubles, which was fine with Coach John Kessler.
"The strategy was for us to sweep the doubles and win one of the singles," he said. "We won the single that we needed, and were right there in the doubles matchup."
The Trojans lost the No. 1 doubles, though, and lost the match, 4-3.
The second semifinal had the Dolphins taking on No. 1 seed Campbell Hall (22-1). Coach Justin Green knew it would be a competitive match.
"We wanted to have it come down to Alyssa (Smith)," he said. "I left her in singles just for this reason, for her to give us a chance to win it and advance to the finals."
After sweeping the doubles matchups, the Dolphins had it come down to the No. 1 singles. Smith delivered by defeating Zoe Katz, 6-4, 2-6, 6-1, to give the Trojans a 4-3 victory.
"It would be a huge deal for us to win this since it's the first year of it and it's kind of like the Southern California State Championship," Green said.
The Dolphins will take on Peninsula for the team title at 1 p.m. today at The Claremont Club.