The loss ended the season for the Sea Kings (18-6), while the Vikings (17-0) advance to the title match Monday in hopes of securing their second straight Division I crown, their fifth section championship in the last five years. The North Hollywood-based private school won Division III titles in 2003 and 2004, and topped the Division II field in 2007.
"We were talking about the streak the other day and someone said CdM is the bellwether," Ricker said. "We're always here [in the semifinals] and the other schools come and go. Recently, it was Dana Hills and prior to that it was Troy.
The last two years, Campbell Hall has been involved [in Division I] and now University is also here. The constant has basically been CdM. That's something to be proud of."
Ricker said he was also proud of this team, the 23-player roster of which included 15 seniors.
"I thought we had a great season and it was especially nice to see a team that clearly improved as the season went on," Ricker said. "That Peninsula match [a 12-6 win Tuesday that avenged a 13-5 nonleague loss to the Panthers on Sept. 28] was obviously a highlight. I thought we had a really bad draw, but we played great against Tesoro and Troy [in first- and second-round triumphs, respectively]. And the last time we played [Pacific Coast League champion] Uni, it was 9-9 [CdM lost on games]. So, what else can you ask from the girls, except to improve?"
Senior Lynda Xepoleas, who did not play in the Sea Kings' 14-4 nonleague loss to Campbell Hall on Sept. 23, was supposed to greatly improve the visitors' chances for an upset Thursday.
The Purdue-bound Xepoleas, ranked No. 5 in Southern California and No. 9 in the nation in the girls' 18s, asserted herself early. She handled future Big Ten rival Sarah Lee, a senior bound for Michigan, 6-2, in a battle of No. 1 singles rivals.