Spartans Beat Mater Dei, Advance to Semifinals

First published in the Nov. 11 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.

La Cañada High School’s varsity girls’ tennis team continued its CIF-SS Division 1 postseason run by defeating visiting Mater Dei High of Santa Ana, 10-8, in the quarterfinal round on Monday afternoon.
The narrow win lifted the Spartans (11-3 overall record) into the CIF semifinals, where they traveled to Laguna Beach (12-4 overall) Wednesday. With the victory over Laguna Beach, the Spartans advanced to the CIF championship match on Friday, Nov. 12, to play the Rio Hondo League champion San Marino at the Claremont Club.

Photo by Sebastian Moore / Outlook Valley Sun
Riley Thornburgh has helped La Cañada High School girls’ tennis team to an 11-3 record.

“Today was obviously our toughest match in the tournament, and everybody just fought really hard,” LCHS coach Will Moravec said after defeating Mater Dei. “I am proud of everybody today because … everybody is starting to get a feel for it. Now, everybody is enjoying the moment, which is what they should do. [CIF] is a great experience, a great opportunity and our [athletes have] smiles on their faces.”
La Cañada’s singles players carried the load, winning seven of the nine sets against the visiting Monarchs. Meanwhile, Spartans’ No. 3 doubles team Eliana Hana and Allison Woo solidified the victory with a sweep. Hana and Woo, who played together for only the second time this season, made quick work of their opponents with 6-0, 6-0, 6-3 wins.
“They want to try and dominate and set the tone for the doubles and they’re doing it,” Moravec said. “They’re still getting used to each other, they’re starting to figure out their game plan, what works best for them, and I think they are getting better and better playing next to each other.”
No. 2 singles player Maya Urata, who will play collegiately at Penn, earned the Spartans’ only singles sweep with 6-2, 6-2, 6-0 victories. Meanwhile, No. 1 singles player Tsehay Driscol and No. 3 singles player Maren Urata both won two of three sets. Driscol beat Mater Dei’s No. 1 and No. 3 singles players by scores of 6-4 and 6-1, respectively, while Maren Urata beat Mater Dei’s No. 2 and No. 3 players 6-4 and 6-0, respectively.