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Notebook : Mater Dei Girls' Tennis Fighting for Playoff Spot

November 01, 1994|DAVE McKIBBEN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

This was supposed to be a big year for the Mater Dei girls' tennis team. The Monarchs had one of the county's top players in Laura Ruben and were ranked fourth in The Times' preseason poll. But heading into the regular season's final week, the Monarchs are fighting for a playoff spot, instead of fighting for a high seeding in next week's Southern Section Division I playoffs.

Mater Dei (9-9, 5-4) probably must defeat Capistrano Valley today to qualify for the playoffs as the South Coast League's third-place team. But the Monarchs will play today without Ruben, who has missed the last month because of arthroscopic knee surgery.

"It has been tough, but the girls have played the best they could have," Mater Dei Coach Sue Harrison said. "We've just really had a tough season. We've played six or seven of the top teams. We had high expectations, but we lost some close matches."

Before Ruben's injury, Mater Dei lost to second-ranked Los Alamitos and fourth-ranked Woodbridge, 10-8. After the injury, the Monarchs were beaten twice by unranked San Clemente.

Ruben saw the doctor Monday, and her availability for the remainder of the season is uncertain. If she doesn't play in the South Coast League prelims Thursday, she would not be eligible to play in the Southern Section individual tournament.

*

Water polo showdowns: Three league titles will be decided by games Wednesday between undefeated teams. In the Century League, third-ranked Foothill will play host to No. 6 Villa Park at 4 p.m. In the Sunset League, Marina and No. 5 Esperanza play at 6 p.m. at Golden West College.

And in the Freeway League, La Habra will be at Buena Park for a 4 p.m. game to decide the league title. It will be the first time since 1969 that Sunny Hills will not win the league championship.

*

The final week of the girls' volleyball regular season begins tonight with some league championships on the line.

Fourth-ranked Sunny Hills (14-0, 8-0) plays host to No. 8 La Habra (11-1, 7-1) with the Freeway title at stake tonight. Los Amigos plays Thursday at Pacifica in a match that should determine the Garden Grove League champ.

*

Pairings for the Southern Section playoffs in eight-man football, girls' tennis, girls' volleyball and water polo will be announced Monday at the section office in Cerritos. The football playoff pairings will be announced in two weeks.

*

With Ocean View's 20-12 victory over Santa Ana, ending the state's longest football losing streak at 36 games, Dana Hills has the county's longest streak, 15. Tustin has lost 14 in a row; Katella has gone 12 games without a victory and has lost nine in a row.

*

They said it:

* "I'm a decent back."

--Costa Mesa's Charles Chatman, after rushing for 251 yards and four touchdowns in the Mustangs' 55-12 victory over Estancia. Chatman leads county rushers with 1,907 yards, including 665 his last two games.

* "It was better than incredible."

--Brea-Olinda offensive lineman Josh Smith, describing the feeling of scoring a touchdown after falling on a fumble in the end zone in the Wildcats' 24-20 victory over Savanna.

Times staff writers Martin Beck, Martin Henderson and Michael Itagaki contributed to this story.

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