PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Whittier Christian, Freshman
Christie Wan had herself quite a freshman season for Whittier Christian High’s girls tennis team.
Wan was clearly the best singles player in the Olympic League, proven by a 40-0 set record and the singles title at the league tournament. She was so dominant, in fact, she won all but one set 6-0, and was quite upset with herself when she allowed Maranatha’s Hailey McNall to take a game off her in the league final.
“She’s a little hard on herself,” said Heralds coach Nicole Nicolaides.
But that competitive nature pushed her further in the CIF Individual Tournament than any other area player, and Wan has been selected the Daily News All-Area Girls Tennis Player of the Year. Wan reached the third round of CIF, short of where she wanted to be but impressive nonetheless.
“She volleys well, she serves well, she moves so nicely,” said Nicolaides. “She’s really an all-court player.”
After another 6-0, 6-0 first-round triumph, Wan topped Hacienda Heights Wilson’s Vicky Limayo 6-2, 6-2 in the second. But her run came to an end against Peninsula sophomore Ena Shibahara, 6-2, 6-1. Shibahara is a highly ranked Southern California player and led Peninsula to the Division 1 team championship.
Wan finished her freshman season with an impressive 45-2 set record.
“I was (hoping) to do better at CIF,” she explained, “but (I did) OK.”
Wan is a fierce defender of the baseline, and she takes control of points from her first swing. A veteran of the junior tennis tournament circuit, Wan would like to improve her first-serve accuracy.
“That’s always been unstable for me,” Wan said. “The serve really determines how the point goes.”
Wan especially enjoyed being part of the close-knit Whittier Christian team, something that was new to her this year.
“It’s not only about you, even if you win 3-0,” Wan said. “It’s about everybody.”
COACH OF THE YEAR
Abby Burdick and Klarissa Flores had never played competitive tennis before their junior year in high school. But with the help of Daily News All-Area Girls Tennis Coach of the Year Nicole Nicolaides, they were Olympic League doubles champions as seniors. “It’s very rewarding (to see their success),” Nicolaides said. “They’ve put in a lot of hard work.” And so did Nicolaides. Freshman Christie Wan added the league singles crown, and the Heralds finished second and advanced to the CIF-SS Division 5 playoffs.
Chavez teamed with senior Jessica Diaz for make a terrific doubles combination for the Condors. With consistent ground strokes and a strong serve, Chavez and the rest of the doubles players became the strength of this year’s Cal team. Chavez and Diaz had a 55-3 overall record and claimed the Del Rio League doubles championship.
Diaz was one of three seniors in the doubles rotation for the Condors, and she provided important leadership for the team during Del Rio League play. After claiming the league’s doubles title, Diaz and Chavez reached the second round of the CIF Individual Tournament, earning a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Tiffant Tran and Taymar Quezada of Rosemead.
Escobar and doubles partner Amanali Rodriguez were consistent winners for the Oilers in Almont League play, and they claimed the league’s No. 1 seed for the CIF Individual Tournament. Once there, they beat a team from Windward in three sets in the opening round before a 6-0, 6-0 loss to Tracy and Tammy Van of Garden Grove.
Guzman had a 27-3 record through the Del Rio League season, then put together a terrific run in the league tournament and beat teammate Sarah Medina to claim the Del Rio League singles crown. More of a defensive player, Guzman was effective at waiting for opponents to make a mistake before pouncing. Guzman finished the season with a 53-4 overall record.
Medina had a terrific Del Rio League campaign in the regular season, going 29-1 in singles play to lead the Cardinals to the team championship. At the league tournament, she reached the final before losing to teammate Adriana Guzman in three sets. Medina was eliminated in the first round of the CIF Individual Tournament, completing the season with an impressive 54-3 mark.
La Serna, Senior
Morrill was the Lancers’ No. 1 singles player and the leader of a very strong singles lineup that took La Serna to a second-place finish in the Del Rio League. Morrill used an aggressive style to put her opponents on their heels, and was a strong finisher. After a strong run in the Del Rio League tournament, Morrill finished in third place.
Rodriguez and doubles partner Sayra Escobar were the strength of an Oilers squad that finished fifth in the six-team Almont League. At the league tournament, they went unbeaten and claimed the Almont League crown, finishing league play with a 21-4 record. At the CIF Individual Tournament, they rallied from a one-set deficit to win their first-round match.
Marriah Amador, Cal, Senior
Abby Burdick, Whittier Christian, Senior
Klarissa Flores, Whittier Christian, Senior
Luisa Garcia, Whittier, Senior
Monserrat Gonzalez, Cal, Senior
Kyori Lee, La Mirada, Senior
Kallysta Lopez, La Serna, Freshman
America Montejano, El Rancho, Senior
Natasha Nerenberg, Whittier, Junior
Melissa Perez, Montebello, Junior
Jacqueline Rubio, Montebello, Junior
Natalia Sanchez, El Rancho, Senior
Roxanne Sierra, El Rancho, Senior
Veronica Torres, El Rancho, Senior
Michelle Villarino, La Serna, Junior
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
La Serna, Freshman
Gonzalez emerged as the singles player to watch in the Del Rio League in the coming years with a strong freshman campaign. She’s an aggressive, intelligent player, and she nearly always had a better second effort after seeing an opponent once. “She’s a great player with the right technique,” said La Serna coach Jaime Ruiz. “She’s a very well-rounded player.” Gonzalez finished fourth in the Del Rio League tournament.
MATCH OF THE YEAR
La Serna vs. Cal
La Serna won eight singles sets, Cal won eight double sets, and the Del Rio League rivals completed their match with nine sets apiece. The difference came down to games won, and for the second time in weeks, La Serna had the edge, 74-67 this time. The Lancers won seven of its sets by scores of 6-0, 6-1 or 6-2, giving them a decided advantage in games.
Del Rio League
1. Whittier Christian
3. La Serna
5. La Mirada
6. El Rancho
7. Santa Fe