Taft High exacted revenge against previously unbeaten and second-seeded Grant on Thursday in the City Section 4-A Division girls' tennis semifinals at The Racquet Centre in Studio City, notching a 5-2 upset that gave the Toreadors a chance to settle another score next week.
Third-seeded Taft (12-2) will meet Palisades on Thursday at The Racquet Centre for the title, marking the fourth consecutive year that those schools have advanced to the 4-A final. Taft will be trying to break Palisades' seven-year hold on the title. Top-seeded Palisades knocked off fourth-seeded Chatsworth, 5-2, Thursday.
"It's getting to be redundant," Taft senior doubles standout Carrie Greenberg said of next week's matchup. "Hopefully this will be our year. Beating Pali would be the perfect graduation present."
Stephanie Fontaine, Greenberg's playing partner, said that Taft will be motivated against Palisades. "We're tired of being No. 2."
Grant (15-1) had beaten Taft, 4-3, in a nonleague match, but Taft made quick work of the Lancers on Thursday, winning its first four matches.
"It is a strong incentive to beat someone who has beaten you," Greenberg said.
Greenberg and Fontaine, the top-ranked doubles team in the City, posted a 6-1, 6-3 win over Grant's No. 1 duo of Sarah Levin and Kate Phanthip.
Moments earlier, Taft sophomore Brahna Pastorini had handed previously undefeated Dana Howerton a 6-1, 6-1 loss in No. 1 singles. Howerton usually plays at No. 3 singles but she was moved up for Thursday's match.
When Taft's Kimberly Shapiro stopped Alice Lee, 6-3, 6-3, in No. 2 singles, and Taft's No. 2 doubles team of Letty Lopez and Astra Ramyead beat Minah Park and Melanie Shannon, 6-3, 6-1, it sealed the Toreadors' victory.
"It's just great to win the first four," Taft Coach Marvin Jones said. "Now I can relax until next Thursday."
Tracey Hockenberg and Natasha Wadiaeff earned Taft's fifth point with a 6-2, 7-6 (7-3) victory over Leah Gorsey and Jessica Plotin at No. 3 doubles. Grant's only wins came in the third and fourth singles slots as Shelley Showalter outlasted Alicia Whelan, 1-6, 6-4, 6-3, and Haeky Lim won a 2 1/2-hour marathon against Krista Ramyead, 0-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-1.
Palisades (15-3) took four of the first five matches against Chatsworth (12-3). The Dolphins swept the four singles matches: Sirsha Shekim beat Lillian Ore, 6-4, 6-2; Karen Manson dropped Michelle Hirschman, 7-5, 6-3; Heather Zand blanked Maria Peck, 6-0, 6-0; and Bentleiga Borgeson shut out Christine Kim, 6-0, 6-0.
Chatsworth won two of the three doubles matches. The Chancellors' No. 2 doubles team of Maggie Daniele and Jennifer Kramer defeated Melissa Cherin and Gina Won, 6-3, 6-3, and Kim Bui and Nicole Medora overcame Ashley Byock and Amber Wuchitech, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, at No. 3 doubles.
Palisades' top doubles team of Torri Ellman and Nancy Kiron defeated Lorelei Lew and Anne Ly, 6-4, 6-1.