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Dominating girls tennis wins league, on to CIF play

In a highly anticipated second meeting between Claremont and Ayala Ruben High School, the CHS girls tennis team earned a hard fought, 10-8 victory and a Palomares League title last week in Chino Hills.

The performance of the afternoon came from sophomore doubles partners Jahday Drewery and Salma Mohideen, who won two out of their three matches. This included a win over two of Ayala’s singles players, who played number three doubles in an effort to strengthen Ayala’s line-up, according to Coach Kathy Settles.

Sophomore standout, Goldie La, led the charge by winning all three of her singles matches. Number two singles player freshman Jacque Pearsall and number three sophomore Caren Uribe only lost to Ayala’s number one seed, Katelyn Vu.

Claremont won their first round match against Ayala earlier in the season by the same score.

Last year, Claremont won in the first round, but lost their final match to Ayala and ended up having to share the league title with the Bulldogs.

“Ayala is a very good team,” Coach Settles said. “We shared the title last year so this year to be able to beat them twice, especially at their place, I think the girls were really excited we could be outright league champions.”

The Ayala match was far from the last gig for the Pack this season, with team and individual CIF tournaments continuing throughout the month. Next up are the Palomares League CIF qualifiers, held on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Claremont Club.

La continued her winning ways, claiming a first place singles title by defeating Ayala’s Katelyn Vu, 6-2 6-2, in the finals on Wednesday. La dropped the first game in both sets but wasted little time settling into her groove for the fairly comfortable win.

“I felt good, much better than at the beginning of the season,” La said after her match.

It did not go as well for her teammates Drewery and Mohideen, who made it into the doubles final but lost to Ayala seniors Cameron Ward and Kyra Lee, 6-3 6-2.

There was plenty of action at the Club as several other leagues were holding separate tournaments. All of the girls seemed to know each other and it was common to hear words of encouragement coming from an opposing team. Still there was little surprise in the outcome with the Bulldogs and the Wolfpack dominating play as they had all season.

“We have done a good job preparing for tough competition and the girls rose to the occasion when they needed to, we are going to go deep in CIF,” Coach Settles said.

Both first place and runner up players advance, so La, Drewery and Mohideen will represent Claremont in the next round of the individual CIF tournament in two weeks at the Claremont Club.

“My team is awesome, period, end of story,” Coach Settles said. “I have the most amazing group of girls who work well together. They work hard, have fun and they want to be on the tennis court. It’s a really talented, diverse group of girls and it is a privilege to work with them.”

Next up for the Pack is the CIF singles and doubles qualifying tournament held at the Claremont Club at 11 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. CHS will host the first round of the Division II CIF Team Championships on October 31. The draws will be announced on Monday.

—Steven Felschundneff

steven@claremont-courier.com