Spartans Hope to Make Another Surprising Run

Sophia and Roxanna Razavi, Annabelle Kevakian and Natalie Son will be returning this season after helping the Spartans win the CIF-SS Division 2 title last year.
Outlook File Photo
Sophia and Roxanna Razavi, Annabelle Kevakian and Natalie Son will be returning this season after helping the Spartans win the CIF-SS Division 2 title last year.

The La Cañada High School varsity girls’ tennis team went on a surprising CIF Southern Section Division 2 championship run last season, bringing home the program’s first plaque since 1977.
The success placed the Spartans in Division 1, making it even more difficult for them to repeat as champions. However, longtime head coach Will Moravec is hopeful of surprising the division with a balanced group of experienced players and young talent.
“It’s tricky because last year’s run wasn’t expected,” Moravec said. “We truly didn’t. A team like Arcadia is one that expects to win every year and comeback to the finals. We came out of nowhere, and I don’t think people are expecting us to repeat. We’re very grateful for what happened, but now we’re just trying to be the best players we can be for each match and moment. I do believe that if things go well, then the results will be the same. We know the reality of how hard it is to win in the playoffs.”
For the first time in years, Moravec will be without a player whose last name is McKenzie.
“It was a great run,” said Moravec, who coached Ally, Cassie, JP and Sophie McKenzie at LCHS. “The McKenzie family played a lot of great tennis for us. It was fulfilling that Sophie’s last year, the last season of the McKenzie’s, we get a CIF championship. They’ve been so active with the program.”
Despite the loss of players to graduation, the program has seasoned athletes in Eliana Hanna, Annabelle Kevakian and Maya Urata. Moravec expects them to compete in singles and hopes the underclassmen fill the remaining holes.
“We’ve got some good freshmen in to add a little bit of depth,” he said. “We’ll see how things go.”
The freshmen on the team include Amanda Grabel, Kylie Hwang, Riley Thornburgh and Allison Woo. They will compete with sophomores and juniors for the doubles spots.
Should the Spartans develop chemistry similar to last year’s, then there’s a chance to challenge reigning Rio Hondo League champion San Marino and make a postseason run.
“San Marino is always good and some of their top players are back, like Anessa Lee,” Moravec said. “That’s always our stumbling block. San Marino’s players have always been a little better than our top players.
“The rest of the league is down, so things can go either way. I’m happy with this year’s team.”
La Cañada will open the season at West Ranch on Tuesday, Sept. 3, at 3 p.m. The Spartans will take on local rival Flintridge Sacred Heart on Monday, Sept. 16, at Scholl Canyon. The home opener will be against Temple City on Oct. 8.

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