By Steve Pratt
The top two-seeded teams advanced to Tuesday’s final of the USTA Girls’ 18s National Team Championships being played at the Claremont Club in Claremont.
The top-seeded team from the USTA Midwest Section eliminated No. 3 Southern California in one semifinal, 4-2, and No. 2 Southern downed No. 4 Florida, 5-2.
Led by one of the nation’s top players in Courtney Dolehide, Midwest will face Southern in a 2 p.m. final on Tuesday during the last day of the tournament.
At 10 a.m., SoCal will face Florida for third place. A fifth and sixth-place match will also take place at that time. Other consolation matches at the Biszantz Tennis Center will also be contested.
“It’s really been a great tournament and we have the top five girls in the country competing,” tournament director and Claremont Club Director of Tennis Barry Friedman said. “The sportsmanship has been great and we’re looking forward to a great final on Tuesday.”
Because the team format is the same as the one used in college, Friedman said the tournament has had many college coaches on-site scouting future players.
“The USTA and its new Junior Tournament national schedule really provides these players with high-level of play while also making it fun and rewarding by offering the team format,” Friedman said.
Gabby Andrews and Ena Shibahara defeated Caroline Dolehide and Brienne Minor, 8-5, at the No. 1 doubles spot, but Midwest took the overall doubles point with wins at No. 2 and 3 positions.
Southern California got nice wins at the No. 3 and 4 singles spots thanks to Jada Hart and Kayla Day, but couldn’t overcome the strong play of the Midwest team.
In SoCal’s first match on Saturday, the team beat Hawaii Pacific, 6-1, with Shibahara suffering the only loss in singles at No. 1, losing a close third-set tiebreaker to Sarah Dvorak.
In SoCal’s second match on Day 2 Sunday, the squad went up against a tough USTA Intermountain squad led by USC recruit Gabby Smith and Kimberly Yee. SoCal prevailed 4-3 with wins in singles by Shibahara (No. 1), Hart (No. 3) and Day (No. 4) and the all-crucial doubles point.
Semifinal Results on Monday:
No. 1 Midwest defeated No. 3 Southern California, 4-2
No. 2 Southern defeated No. 4 Florida, 5-2.
Sara Daavettila (MW) def. Gabby Andrews (SoCal), 6-2, 6-4
Jada Hart (SoCal) def. Brienne Minor (MW), 6-4, 6-4
Kayla Day (SoCal) def. Bianca Moldovan (MW), 6-0, 1-6, 6-3
Alexandria Najarian (MW) def. Sydney Val Alphen (SoCal), 6-4, 6-4
Anna Sanford (MW) def. Kenadi Hance (SoCal)
Caroline Dolehide (MW) vs. Ena Shibahara (SoCal) DNF
Midwest wins the point with two victories
Shibahara-Andrews (SoCal) def. Dolehide-Minor (MW), 8-5
Daavettila-Sanford (MW) def. Hart-Hance (SoCal), 8-3
Moldovan-Najarian (MW) def. Day-Jessica Falla (SoCal), 8-5