Search:
BRIAN WHITEHEAD, FOR OCVARSITY.COM
Aliso Niguel's Becky Chou readies her swing during the second round of Monday's quarterfinals match against Santiago of Corona.

Motivated Aliso Niguel pushes way into semifinals

FOR OCVARSITY.COM

ALISO NIGUEL - After finishing the regular season behind undefeated Sea View League champion Capistrano Valley and second-place Laguna Hills, Aliso Niguel's girls tennis team was forced last week to play in the wild-card round of the CIF-SS Division 3 playoffs.

Then a funny thing happened - the Wolverines won, and won, and won again.

Consecutive victories over Paso Robles, then Los Osos and Camarillo -- both of which were league champions -- put Aliso Niguel (11-6) in position to defeat visiting Santiago of Corona, 11-7, on Monday to advance the Wolverines to their first semifinal in school history.

"We felt like we deserved a seed in the playoffs, even with four (league) losses, given the schedule we played," Wolverines coach Peter Kelley said. "When we didn't get one, I think it lit us up. ... Every day last week the girls came to practice pumped up and ready to play hard."

A 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 sweep by the all-senior No. 1 doubles team of Denise Ogranovich and Jessica Murphy gave Aliso Niguel -- which missed the playoffs last season -- three of its six doubles sets.

The No. 3 team of Shelby Le and Serena Wong claimed two of three, including a vital 7-6 tiebreaker in the second round.

"It completely got us ready," Kelley said of the Sea View League schedule. "Our doubles were pushed all season long and now they're ready for anything. It has absolutely helped us in the last week and a half."

Wolverines No. 1 singles player, freshman Becky Chou, took two sets 6-0 and improved her individual postseason record to 10-2.

"Becky has been our freshman phenom," Kelley said. "She's so mellow and laid back; she doesn't let anything stop her from what she wants to accomplish. ... She definitely doesn't look or play like a freshman."

Leading 4-2 after the first round, Aliso Niguel held a 7-4 edge with the final set of the second round ongoing. Trailing at 4-1, and eventually at 6-3 in the tiebreaker, Le and Wong upset the No. 2 team of Santiago (10-3) to give the hosts enough breathing room to take the match with a stress-free final round.

"We've just played awesome these last couple matches," Kelley said.

Aliso Niguel will travel to play Arroyo Grande in Wednesday's semifinals match at 2 p.m.


See archived 'Sports' stories »
 


Other Varsity coverage:
Inland Empire
Search Players


Football:

Tesoro 14, Edison 31 - 00:00 4th QT - Completed

Football:

Capistrano Valley 34, Valencia 0 - 00:00 4th QT - Completed

Football:

La Mirada 21, Orange Lutheran 14 - 03:35 4th QT - Completed

Football:

Santa Margarita 14, Mission Viejo 48 - 01:00 3rd QT - Completed

Football:

Long Beach Poly 27, Los Alamitos 20 - 07:32 4th QT - Completed

Football:

Laguna Beach 26, Bolsa Grande 11 - 03:47 3rd QT - Completed

Football:

Sacramento 7, JSerra 28 - 01:01 3rd QT - Completed

Football:

Oceanside 28, San Clemente 28 - 04:48 3rd QT - Completed

Football:

Mater Dei 35, Bishop Amat 7 - 05:08 2nd QT - Completed

Volleyball:

Cathedral Catholic 1, Corona del Mar 3 - 4th Set - Completed