The San Luis Obispo girls tennis team advanced to the CIF-Southern Section Division III championship match after a 12-6 road win over South Pasadena on Thursday.
The Tigers (20-1) have won three of their four playoff matches on the road en route to Monday’s championship match at the Claremont Tennis Club.
“We feel like we’re definitely road warriors,” Tigers coach Gary Etheredge said. “This group of young ladies is a very special group to be able to go on the road three times and stay focused. It’s unbelievable the way this group has responded.”
Two-time defending PAC 7 singles champion Abigail Will won two of her three matches, but the team ran into trouble against what Etheredge said was a very talented group on the other side.
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Marivick Mamiit, South Pasadena’s top singles player, is rated as the No. 7 player in the state and 40th nationally by tennisrecruiting.net and has already committed to play collegiate tennis at William & Mary.
Mamiit won all three of her matches, but Etheredge said that the experience of playing someone that talented could help the team as it moves forward.
“All of these experiences contribute to the end result,” Etheredge added. “It definitely makes our players tougher.”
With the Tigers’ singles players struggling, the doubles teams provided the lift San Luis Obispo needed to advance, sweeping all nine doubles matches.
The team of Randi Lee and Lela Heza dropped just three games in three matches.
“I can’t say enough about the strength of our team — the overall balance,” Etheredge said. “When you play this far into the playoffs it’s just a matter of one team complementing the other.
“One day it could be singles then the next day it could be doubles. I’m extremely proud of the way the doubles teams stepped up realizing the situation we were in.”
With a win Monday, San Luis Obispo would claim its first CIF-Southern Section championship since 1990.
The Tigers will play top-seeded San Marino in Monday’s final. The Titans (21-0) advanced to the championship match with a 12-6 win over Lakewood.
The Tigers will send Will, Tori Troesch and the PAC 7 doubles championship team of Alex Coffman and Lili Voisinet to play today at the CIF-Southern Section individual championships in Carpinteria.