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Woodbridge Wilts in Heat, Loses to Dana Hills, 12-6

September 24, 1997|DAVE McKIBBEN

Tuesday's meeting between Dana Hills and Woodbridge was billed as a match between the second- and third-best girls' tennis teams in the county, but it turned into more of a match of will than skill in the near 100-degree heat in Irvine.

Dana Hills outlasted Woodbridge, 12-6, in a match that took 3 1/2 hours to play and was lengthened by a set that lasted almost 90 minutes.

In the last five days, second-ranked Dana Hills (5-1) has defeated two Southern Section champions from last year, Palos Verdes Peninsula in Division I and Woodbridge in Division III.

"And now we're going to win Division II," said Dana Hills sophomore Kate Romm after finishing off Woodbridge's No. 1 player, Susanna Lingman, 6-3, to complete a sweep of her singles sets.

Dana Hills could have opted to move up to Division I and compete with Peninsula, Woodbridge and Corona del Mar, but it voted as a team to stay in Division II.

"We need to conquer Division II before Division I," Romm said.

Romm, however, had a difficult time conquering Woodbridge's Rachel Gunther in her second set of the day. She started off playing aggressively, but then retreated to the baseline after missing a few easy put-aways. What ensued was a painfully long set that tested the will of both players, the patience of the spectators and the other players who had long since finished their sets.

Romm, who eventually won, 7-6 (7-2 in the tiebreaker), said she had never played such a long set.

"Rachel was tough," Romm said. "I was down a set point and I knew I had to come back. She was getting to everything. I could have played more aggressively, but I was happy to pull it out."

Romm's victory was the difference between a 7-5 Dana Hills lead going into the third round and a 6-6 tie. Woodbridge (3-1), playing without No. 2 singles player Adriana Hockicko who has a dislocated kneecap and will be out at least another two weeks, dropped seven of nine doubles sets.

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