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TENNIS / SOUTHERN SECTION 3-A DIVISION GIRLS' FINAL : Lineup Switch Propels Westlake to Decisive Win Over Camarillo


An anxious Connie Flanderka mentally juggled lineups before Westlake High's Southern Section 3-A Division girls' tennis championship match Tuesday morning against Camarillo.

The lineup she finally settled on allayed her concerns, however, producing a 13-5 victory at the Claremont Club in Claremont that gave Westlake its second consecutive 3-A title.

"Winning two years in a row is the best feeling," the Warrior coach said. "I can't even explain it. It's so hard to (win) it even once."

Top-seeded Westlake had split two matches with third-seeded Camarillo in Marmonte League play, winning at home on total games, 78-68, Oct. 10, after splitting 18 sets and losing, 70-69, again splitting sets, Nov. 5 at Camarillo.

The Warriors (20-2) made sure it didn't come down to total games this time and a key lineup switch was a major reason. Flanderka moved No. 3 singles player senior Jennifer Reese to No. 3 doubles with freshman Michelle Clark, and put Clark's regular doubles partner, senior Catherine King, at No. 3 singles.

Playing together for only the second time this season, Clark and Reese swept their three matches, including a 6-0 title-clincher against Laura Crawford and Mamta Mehta. King added a 6-0 victory over Traci Verardo.

Reese said she gladly accepted when Flanderka told her of the lineup change during practice Monday.

"I was pleased with it," Reese said. "I thought it was a wise choice and our best chance to win."

Alison Levitt and Kim Stuart, Westlake's top doubles team, beat Crawford and Mehta, 6-1, stopped Lisa Degner and Jennifer Messmer, 6-4, and defeated Ethel Cheng and Rachel Mayo, 6-2. Westlake freshman Joanna Mazur's aggressive play accounted for two wins at No. 1 singles. Mazur upset Monique Allegre, 7-6 (7-2) and toppled Verardo, 6-0.

Even in losing, Camarillo Coach Frances Giffin was pleased with her squad's surprising success this season. The Scorpions (19-3) tied Westlake for the league title.

"It's more than we expected this year," Giffin said. "We didn't even make the (Southern Section) polls at the beginning of the year, and we made it all the way to the finals."

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