Laguna Hills' Alexandra Valenstein returns a shot while playing for the CIF-SS Division 3 championship on Friday in Claremont.

Laguna Hills passes final test, wins Div. 3 title


CLAREMONT - Laguna Hills' girls tennis team hasn't had what you would call a "typical" season.

Between playing an entire pre-league schedule without their top two girls, to winning just one match before beginning Sea View League play, to making the playoffs with a 7-9 overall record, the Hawks didn't get a real chance to hit their apex until the postseason started.


CIF FINALS: University falls short in Div. 1 final


Nevertheless, Laguna Hills (12-9) claimed its first CIF-SS Division 3 championship since 1998 with a 10-8 victory over Arroyo Grande (21-2) on Friday at The Claremont Club.

"When we play preseason, we play the Woodbridges, the Santa Margaritas, the Beckmans, so we play some good teams," Hawks coach Cary Crouch said. "They're going to beat us, but if you look at all the scores, if you give us six (sets) with the girls we were missing and take away six, we would've been in real good shape."

Sophomore Alex Valenstein (6-2, 6-0, 6-0) and senior Mikey Barthelmass (6-4, 6-1, 6-3) swept at No. 2 and No. 3 singles, respectively, and the No. 1 duo of Amanda Jaffe and Julia Traylor (6-4, 6-2, 6-0) claimed three of the Hawks' four doubles sets.

"We only have two kids that play any kind of tournaments," Crouch said. "The rest of the kids need to see how hard they (Valenstein and Barthelmass) play and understand the whole idea of playing extremely hard."

Barthelmass, who missed the preseason due to prearranged college visits, went 15-0 in the postseason and Valenstein, who spent the preseason playing in Chile, finished 14-1.

"The rest of the girls on our team see how Mikey will go through a game plan before a match and that's huge for us," Crouch said. "For her, with as much experience as she has, to listen and show the other kids that it's OK to listen is real important."

Tied at 6-all by the start of the third round, Laguna Hills took an insurmountable lead in games following Barthelmass' final-set victory. Regardless, Tiffany Lam and Arianna Bennett claimed their final doubles set, 7-6, to win the match outright.

See archived 'Sports' stories »

Other Varsity coverage:
Inland Empire
Search Players


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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