The Miraleste High School girls' tennis team added another Southern Section 4-A championship plaque to its trophy case Wednesday. But this title, which the Marauders won with an 11-7 victory over Westlake of Los Angeles, was tinged with a bit of sadness.
The championship, the fourth in the last six years for Miraleste's girls, will be the last for the perennial powerhouse. The school in Rancho Palos Verdes will close after this year due to declining enrollment.
"It was so sad to know today would be the last time we would cheer together before the match," said senior Heidi Hoffman, part of Miraleste's doubles corps that won 8 of 9 sets. "At the end of the cheer, I was personally crying.
"It's a shame it's all over, but I'm glad we ended on a good note. We all came out to win this last one for Miraleste."
Hoffman and her partner, Melissa Kaiser, led the Miraleste doubles onslaught at the West End Tennis Club in Torrance with a strong serve-and-volley game.
The pair, who ran up a formidable 40-2 record this year, posted 6-1, 6-0 and 6-1 victories. Overall, Miraleste's doubles teams lost only 15 games during the afternoon.
The overwhelming play of the doubles teams was the key to the victory. Westlake, led by senior Alisha May, won 6 of 9 singles sets.
May, No. 1 in the Southern California girls' 16 computer rankings, won all three of her sets, 6-4, 6-0 and 6-0. She frustrated Miraleste's Krista Amend, 6-4, with passing shots that consistently skirted the lines.
"She was making great shots," May said of Amend, who is 15th nationally in the girls' 18 rankings. "But once I started passing her I really got grooved."
May gave his team a scare, but Miraleste Coach Jim Hanson was relieved by the play of his doubles teams.
"When they come in to the net," he said, "they're going to win them all."