Sage Hill (23-6), the No. 2 seed, learns of its next opponent today. Longoria wants one particular team, No. 3-seeded Walnut.
The Mustangs play at South Torrance in a quarterfinal match, which was pushed back due to the poor air quality from the recent fires.
“We’d like another shot at them,” Longoria said, “even if [the match] is at their place.”
The Lightning haven’t forgotten about last year’s battle against Walnut. They used it as motivation to get past Cajon (21-6).
Walnut upset Sage Hill in last year’s quarterfinals, 10-8, ending a four-year streak in which the Lightning at least made a semifinal appearance.
“We kind of choked last year,” Sage Hill junior Julia Blakeley said. “We just had a couple of sets where we [were] up, 5-2, [and lost].
“This year, we’re ready to go and we really believe that we can do it.”
Blakeley and the rest of her teammates are thinking big.
A section championship is the goal.
Blakeley came out determined despite playing No. 1 singles with an ugly blister under her right foot.
The junior helped the Lightning jump out to an 8-1 lead. She beat Cajon’s Janesha Anthony, 6-2, in the opening set, and won every game against Allison Moncrief.
She wasn’t even supposed to play.
“I was supposed to take a couple of days off,” Blakeley said her doctor recommended. “I’m forming a new callous in my foot, so it’s really quite painful for me. I just tried not to think about it.”
Longoria gave no starter a break heading into the third round. Cajon cut the deficit, 8-4, and was still alive.
Everyone returned, including Blakeley. A teammate told her, “Go win another one on one foot.”
Blakeley just smiled.