Spartans Finish 2nd in League; Open Postseason Play

First published in the Nov. 4 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.

La Cañada High School’s varsity girls’ tennis team concluded its regular season by finishing second in the Rio Hondo League with a 6-2 record (8-3 overall) behind perennial powerhouse San Marino.
The Spartans earned a favorable seeding in the CIF-SS Division 1 bracket, according to head coach Will Moravec, and visited Temecula Great Oak High on Wednesday, Nov. 3, winning 12-6. With the victory, the Spartans advanced to the CIF second round on Friday, Nov. 5, and played Riverside Martin Luther King.
“We are excited because we got the draw that we wanted,” Moravec said. “Obviously we still need everyone to play well but we’re still really, really excited. It’s great to be in Division 1, which is obviously one of the highest brands of high school tennis.”
The Spartans are CIF bound for at least a 30th consecutive season, which started when Moravec took over in 1991.
These two teams last played four years ago on Nov. 3, 2017, when the Spartans lost, 12-6.
“[Great Oak] has always been a pretty good perennial Division 1 team,” Moravec said. “They have about five or six players that have played tournaments on a regular basis so that always shows you they have some pretty good depth.”
La Cañada is seeking its first CIF championship since 2018, the first year current seniors Eliana Hana, Sophia Razavi, Natalie Son and Maya Urata joined the varsity squad as freshmen.
“Maya Urata is a highly ranked player and she is heading off to Penn to play college tennis,” Moravec said. “Eliana Hana is heading off to college to continue her tennis at the University of Washington in St. Louis. Natalie Son and Sophia Razavi … helped us win the title four years ago.”
Behind six seniors, including Muru Li and Nicole Sorensen, the Spartans boast a core of seven juniors — Vivien Chen, Tsehay Driscoll, Amanda Grabel, Kylie Hwang, Chiara Matuska, Riley Thornburgh and Allison Woo. They also have one sophomore, Maren Urata.
“This core of juniors came in the year after we won the CIF championship and they got used to a lot of winning,” said Moravec. “So hopefully, they can carry the torch. We still have a lot of talent, so we’ll be looking forward to continuing to have good results and hopefully, they can add on to their own individual accomplishments.”
Last week, Driscoll and Hana won the Rio Hondo League doubles title while Thornburgh and Woo finished fourth.
“Tsehay Driscoll is our best player by far. She is ranked like No. 17 in the nation,” Moravec said. “Maren Urata, who is only a sophomore, is one of our best players. So we have those two leading the way.”