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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS | CITY SECTION TENNIS
PLAYOFFS

Granada Hills Can't Double Up Palisades

November 19, 1998|STEVE GALLUZZO | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Granada Hills High lost only one girls' tennis match this season.

Unfortunately, it was the last one, with the City Championship on the line.

Despite winning two of three doubles matches Wednesday, the second-seeded Highlanders were defeated, 4-3, by two-time defending champion Palisades at Meridan's Tennis L.A.

The top-seeded Dolphins (15-2-1) were making their 15th consecutive appearance in a City Section final, and have won 12 championships.

"It hurts to lose in the finals, because you know there's only one team better than you," Coach Ron Wood of Granada Hills said. "But I'm real proud of my girls. This is the strongest team I've ever had."

The Highlanders (15-1) lost in the semifinals in each of the previous four seasons--twice each to Palisades and Hamilton.

"This is the best we've ever done against [Palisades]," said Wood, who took over the girls' program in 1996. "And eight of our 10 players will be back next year, so we should be strong again."

The Highlanders' strategy was to sweep the three doubles matches and steal a victory in singles. It appeared the strategy might work when junior Michal Zeituni (17-0) beat Jennifer Lin of Palisades, 6-1, 6-3, at No. 4 singles.

But Sanam Salek and Jennifer Steinberg of Palisades handed Jennifer Steinberg and Andrea Bleiden, the Highlanders' No. 2 doubles team, their first loss of the season, 6-4, 7-5.

Valerie Ramirez and Shannon Slotnick (18-1) of Granada Hills defeated Setareh Safii and Joy Terrell, 6-1, 6-1, at No. 1 doubles and will be seeded second at the City Section individual tournament in December.

Katie Hartnett and Lynn Azali of the Highlanders defeated Tiffany Miller and Ashley St. Amand at No. 3 doubles, 6-2, 6-2.

Grant 4, Marshall 3--Freshman Shayna Fox needed more than three hours to defeat Monica Park, 6-1, 5-7, 7-5, at No. 1 singles and clinch the Division title for the seventh-seeded Lancers.

Grant (12-1) won the title in its first postseason appearance.

"I was hitting a lot of winners in the first set," Fox said. "But she stepped up her game in the second set, and it was a battle from there. I was just a little stronger, mentally."

The fourth-seeded Barristers (10-6) were 3-A Division champions last season.

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