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PREP TENNIS PAIRINGS : Mater Dei Faces Tough Battle in Opening Round of Playoffs


CERRITOS — The Mater Dei girls' tennis team has faced nearly every ranked team in Orange County this year, so maybe it's fitting the Monarchs drew the nation's best--Palos Verdes Peninsula--in the first round of the Southern Section playoffs on Thursday.

Mater Dei (9-10) was ranked fourth in the county in the preseason poll, but injuries and disappointing performances by younger players left the Monarchs with the South Coast League's last playoff spot.

Peninsula (20-0) has won three consecutive Division I titles and has two of the nation's top players in juniors Amanda Basica and Amanda Augustus.

The good news for second-seeded Dana Hills (15-3) and third-seeded Corona del Mar (15-4) is they are on the opposite side of the bracket from Peninsula and wouldn't play the Panthers until the final. Woodbridge (16-4), which finished behind Corona del Mar in the Sea View League, is seeded fourth and opens against San Clemente (13-7).

Two-time defending champion Laguna Beach (19-1), ranked No. 1 in Orange County, drew the top seeding in Division II and received a first-round bye, but it could play El Modena (11-5), the Century League's second-place team, in the second round.

Los Alamitos (17-1) appeared to get the worst draw. The Griffins, ranked second in the county, are seeded third but could play No. 4 Villa Park in the second round. Los Alamitos, which had played in Division III until this season, handed Villa Park (14-1) its only loss this season, 10-8.

"It's going to be very exciting because every match is huge," Los Alamitos Coach Debbie Fleming said. "I'm looking forward to it. I like this because the year we won (1991) we played really good teams every round, and it was tough. The year we lost (1991) to Sunny Hills we had a cakewalk to the finals and then we got blown out."

Here are the pairings (games 2 p.m. unless noted):

Today (Wild-card round)

Division III--Troy at Palos Verdes Chadwick; Ocean View at Loara; Division IV: Valencia at La Quinta.

Thursday (First round)

Division I--Mater Dei at Palos Verdes Peninsula; Newport Harbor at Westlake; San Clemente at Woodbridge; Agoura at Corona del Mar; Santa Margarita at Dana Hills. Division II--El Modena-Marina winner at Laguna Beach; Redondo at Edison; Canyon at Diamond Bar; Estancia at Los Alamitos; Victor Valley at Villa Park; Huntington Beach at University. Division III--Sunny Hills at El Dorado; Warren at Rosary; Palos Verdes Peninsula Chadwick-Troy winner at Paramount; Saddleback at Katella; Riverside Poly at Sonora; Ocean View-Loara winner at Corona Centennial. Division IV--El Monte at Brea-Olinda; Long Beach Wilson at Santiago; Los Amigos at Cerritos; Cathedral City at Savanna; Valencia-La Quinta winner at Palm Desert. Division V--Brethren Christian at Bonita; Covina at Valley Christian.

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