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GIRLS' TENNIS

Reitz Makes Smashing Debut for Sea Kings

October 24, 2000|DAVE McKIBBEN

It would have been hard, make that impossible, for transfer Brittany Reitz to make a better first impression with her new teammates at Corona del Mar High. Since becoming eligible last Monday, Reitz has won a remarkable 54 of 55 games for the top-ranked Sea Kings.

"I've only seen her play three times, but I don't know what it takes to beat her," said Corona del Mar Coach Andy Stewart. "She's so quick off the baseline. If you're playing her, you have to really work to beat her."

Anne Yelsey, Corona del Mar's No. 1 singles player, paid Reitz a compliment that Jerry Maguire would appreciate.

"She completes our team," Yelsey said. "Everybody on our team thinks we're really lucky to have her. She gives us three great singles players and that makes our doubles teams that much better."

Reitz proved her value Wednesday in the Sea Kings' 12-6 victory over second-ranked Dana Hills. Not only did her three points at No. 2 singles make a big difference in the final score, it also allowed the Sea Kings to move No. 3 singles players Brittany Holland and Leslie Damion to No. 1 doubles, where they swept three sets.

After the match, Reitz was quick to thank the Corona del Mar administration for helping her become a Sea King.

"I feel like coming out here and playing my best is the least I can do after all this school has done for me," Reitz said. "They've helped me make the transition an easy one."

Reitz, who lives in the Corona del Mar attendance area, was home-schooled as a freshman and she attended Mater Dei and St. Margaret's last year. Her stay at Mater Dei was short, but Reitz played a few matches for the Monarchs--coincidentally, losing once to Yelsey--before transferring to St. Margaret's, and that affected her eligibility.

She was ineligible last year at St. Margaret's and did not become eligible at Corona del Mar until Oct. 15.

"The CIF has a rule that you can only change schools one time without changing residence," said Robert Cunard, Corona del Mar's vice principal. "We didn't do anything extraordinary to get her eligible. She lives inside our attendance zone. This ought to be her home anyway."

Reitz petitioned the Southern Section to have her athletic eligibility restored at the start of this school year, but she was turned down. Reitz, however, didn't seem the least bit bitter about her ordeal.

"I'm just happy to be here," she said. "The team's great. The girls on the team are great. I love it."

The team concept is new to Reitz. Other than the few matches she played with Mater Dei last year, Reitz has not played on a team. Most of her experience in junior tennis has been with older players. As a 13-year-old, she played in the 18-year-old division.

"My Coach [Skip Redondo] thought playing up two divisions would give me a chance to test my skills against the better players," Reitz said. "My goal was to make my game as good as it could possibly be."

At the time, Reitz thought she needed to devote herself entirely to tennis. So she spent her eighth- and ninth-grade years in a home-school program. But now that she's a junior, Reitz is happy to be in a different environment.

"I wanted to be back in a classroom situation," Reitz said. "The idea of playing high school tennis always appealed to me."

Because Reitz's background is so different from her teammates', Stewart said she brings a unique perspective.

"She's very mature for a junior in high school," Stewart said. "She's really serious on the court and I hope that rubs off on her teammates. There's not a lot of the joking and giggling that you see with some girls her age."

That intensity initially surprised some of Reitz's teammates. "She's getting more comfortable and the players are getting to know her," Stewart said.

A NEAR-SHOCKER

Laguna Beach nearly pulled off the upset of the year last Monday against Beverly Hills, the top-ranked team in Division II.

The Division V Artists, who have been banged up all season and are without No. 1 singles player Ashley Maddocks, who left after last season for the Weil Academy in Ojai, lost, 9-9 and 85-54 in games. Laguna Beach lost all nine singles sets and won all nine doubles sets.

Today, ninth-ranked Laguna Beach (9-6, 6-2) hosts University (10-5, 5-2) in a match that will probably decide second place in the Pacific Coast League. University is led by the singles duo of Megan Biorkman and Aimee Kim. Biorkman, a junior, swept her singles sets two weeks ago against Corona del Mar--before the arrival of Reitz.

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If you have an item or idea for the tennis report, you can fax us at (714) 966-5663 or e-mail us at david.mckibben@latimes.com

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