WOODLAND HILLS — Heading into this afternoon's final of the City Section team tennis tournament, Taft High Coach Marvin Jones refuses to consider that his girls might fall short of repeating as 4-A Division champions.
It doesn't matter that second-seeded Palisades has an identical 15-0 record and a winning tradition of which top-seeded Taft is all too aware.
"Their record is the same as ours," said Jones, "but we're the team to beat."
Taft's players seem to be saying the same as they prepare to take the court at 2 at The Racquet Centre in Studio City.
"They're saying, 'We want to repeat,' " Jones said. "I'm saying, 'Let's do it.' "
This is the sixth consecutive year Taft and Palisades have met in the City final, and the Toreadors having only one title so far to show for it.
A victory today should take some of the sting out of the four consecutive defeats Taft suffered to the Dolphins from 1988-91, three of them lopsided.
"We were glad we were in the finals back then," Jones said.
"It was a case where I had the second best poker hand. You stay in the game until the end, but you never win."
With undefeated Julia Feldman (14-0) and defending City champion Brahna Pastorini (15-0) playing No. 1 and 2 singles, Jones feels the momentum has swung in Taft's direction.
During the regular season, only one team--Cleveland--scored against the Toreadors, and the dominance continued in the first two rounds of the section tournament with Taft shutting out Hamilton and University, 7-0.
Aside from Feldman and Pastorini, Taft's No. 3 and 4 singles players Ravid Levy and Brooke Lewis have been strong.
Astra Ramyead and Alicia Wahlan at No. 1, Lydia Daniller and Marissa Parker, and Candy Ramyead and Terri Rosenthal play doubles.