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Seniors Put Spark in Rosary


CLAREMONT — Rosary won its second Southern Section championship Tuesday by defeating West Hills Chaminade, 10-8, in the Division IV girls' tennis final at the Claremont Club.

The Royals' other section title was the Division I-A softball championship in 1984.

Rosary, which lost to Los Alamitos in the 1991 finals, might have cashed in on its last chance at a tennis title for a few years; the top-seeded Royals (23-1) will graduate six of their nine starters.

"We wanted to win because I don't think we are going to be very good next year," junior Michelle Hamilton said. "This was our last chance."

And it was those graduating seniors who held the key to Rosary's victory.

Eleanor Luzano playing at No. 1 singles, opened the match with what became the most important set of the day. Down, 1-3, to Teresa Galido of Chaminade's (19-1), Luzano rallied.

"I knew I had to start coming in to the net and following up shots and putting balls away," Luzano said.

Breaking Galido's serve to pull within 2-3, Luzano battled through six deuces to tie the set, 3-3. Then she took the next two games and a 5-3 lead.

Galido, however, fought back and the players traded games, forcing a tiebreaker at 6-6. The tiebreaker belonged to Luzano, who won the set, 7-6, (7-2).

With that victory, Luzano, who swept her opponents, 7-6, 6-1, 6-0, took some of the pressure off her teammates by putting Rosary ahead, 4-2, at the end of Round 1, instead of tying the score 3-3.

Rosary's other seniors then put the match out of reach.

In doubles, Michelle Hamilton and senior Lauren Eyrich made quick work of their opponents, losing only one game and finishing their three sets, 6-1, 6-0, 6-0, before many players were done with the second round.

Senior Cheryl Hamilton, Michelle's older sister, teamed with senior Amanda Mroz and they swept through Chaminade's lineup, winning, 6-4, 6-2, 6-1.

"As usual the strength of our team is Eleanor and our Nos. 1 and 2 doubles," Royal Coach Dick Fumanti said. "They got us nine points."

And Rosary, which lost in last year's quarterfinals, needed only one more point for the victory.

They got it from senior Alyson Ludlam and sophomore Devon Eyrich in doubles. Ludlam and Eyrich defeated Summer Valdes and Amy Biersch, 6-2, in the opening round and finished the day losing, 3-6, 3-6.

"This was our year," Fumanti said.

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