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High Schools | SPOTLIGHT / GIRLS' TENNIS : NOTES

Keppel Is Scoring in Every Way

November 05, 2001|Lauren Peterson

Players on the Alhambra Mark Keppel girls' tennis team are making the grade on the court, just as they do in honors academic classes.

With No. 1 singles player Jenny Ung, the Almont League individual champion, showing the way, the Aztecs finished the regular season 16-2 and shared the league title with Alhambra at 7-1.

Not bad for a squad that always seems to include several members of the National Honor Society and California Scholarship Federation but often takes a couple of years to become anything but tennis neophytes.

"There are really no stars," said Coach Tony Grbac, in his 11th season. "Most of the kids are, 90% of the time, beginners. I just accept it and work with it."

Ung, a senior, was the Almont League singles runner-up the past two seasons but defeated teammate Amber Marsden, 6-4, 6-2, Thursday to win this year's title. She went 46-2 in round-robin sets during the regular season, and was 18-0 in league.

"She's been the stronghold of our team," Grbac said.

Ung, who has had some junior-circuit tournament experience, and solid No. 2 player, junior Christina Jeong (39-11), one of five on the team in the National

Honor Society, have worked extensively with teammates during and after practices to improve everyone's game.

Keppel posted quality wins over San Marino and Burbank. The team's only losses have come against Glendora St. Lucy's and Alhambra.

The Aztecs' best postseason performance during Grbac's tenure was a quarterfinal appearance in 1987. The players are hoping for more this year.

"I think they're feeling pretty good about themselves right now," Grbac said. "It just depends on the draw. We've had a lot of success here for what we have."

*

Youth is served: Another team that has done better than expected this season is youthful Manhattan Beach Mira Costa (18-1).

The Mustangs' lineup includes five freshman and a sophomore.

Stephanie Manasse, the sophomore, has been at No. 1 singles the past three weeks in place of freshman standout Erica Schweyer, who has a strained right knee.

Manasse, who advanced to the third round of the Southern Section individual tournament last year, has filled the void capably.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

THE TIMES' RANKINGS

1. Corona del Mar (21-1, SS-Pacific Coast)

Defeated Northwood to wrap up league title.

2. Palos Verdes Peninsula (22-2, SS-Bay)

Shilpa Joshi and McCall Harkins beat Colby Comstock and Nikki LaBrucherie in all-Peninsula league doubles final.

3. Dana Point Dana Hills (17-5, SS-South Coast)

Defeated San Clemente and Capistrano Valley to wrap up South Coast League title.

4. Beverly Hills (16-4, SS-Bay)

The Normans' Kate Jolson beat Alex Jurewitz, 6-3, 6-3, in league singles final, keeping Peninsula from sweeping tournament.

5. Calabasas (17-1, SS-Frontier)

Monica Wiesener won league singles title over teammate Amanda Fink.

6. Fullerton Troy (18-3, SS-Freeway)

Serena Fermin was league singles runner-up and Veronica Fermin and Calina Ciobanu won doubles.

7. Palm Desert (19-3, SS-Desert Valley)

Closed out regular season with league victories over Cathedral City and La Quinta.

8. Newport Beach Newport Harbor (12-6, SS-Sea View)

Natalie Braverman defeated Elizabeth Exon, 6-2, 6-1, in Sea View League singles final match.

9. Irvine Woodbridge (16-7, SS-Sea View)

Exon and Ashley Williams give the Warriors solid 1-2 punch for playoffs.

10. Villa Park (15-4, SS-Century)

Wrapped up an unbeaten Century League season.

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