Dana Hills' Smith finally earns South Coast crown
LAGUNA NIGUEL - For all the accolades Alyssa Smith has garnered throughout her high school career, this season’s South Coast League singles championship served as the proverbial cherry on the senior’s four-year sundae.
“I didn’t play (in the SCL finals) the last two years because I was injured,” Smith said. “My freshman year I was supposed to play my older sister in the finals, but my mom didn’t want us to play against each other so I had to default.”
With not a sister to be found in the draw, Dana Hills’ standout singles player finally claimed the elusive SCL singles championship with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Tesoro’s Mayci Jones on Wednesday afternoon at Laguna Niguel Racquet Club.
By reaching the championship match, both Smith and Jones qualify for the CIF-SS Individuals tournament that begins on Nov. 19. San Clemente’s Kayleigh Hall will serve as an alternate.
“I love playing high school tennis,” Smith said. “It’s great competition and the matches don’t count against your national ranking so it’s valuable to play other good players that you’d see in national tournaments, and it’s nice to have fun with your teammates.”
In addition to Smith’s singles championship, the Dolphins’ top doubles team of Cassidy Spearman and Jessica Perez won the SCL doubles title with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Justine Huang and Kaitlyn Nguyen of Tesoro.
Dana Hills’ senior duo didn’t drop a single game in seven sets.
“I think it motivates our team as a whole,” Smith said of winning both championships. “We hold ourselves to a pretty high standard so even the girls who didn’t make the finals want to continue to get better.
“We have a great group of girls this year and we’re blessed to get along so well and be able to come together as a team.”
In the Pacific Coast League finals:
In an all-University doubles championship match, Shannon Theisen and Danielle Pham defeated Celine Gruaz and Kyla Scott, 8-3, at Corona del Mar High.
Stephanie Hazell of Woodbridge successfully defended her singles title with an 8-6 victory over University’s Yuki Asami.