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Korber keeps rockin' for Lightning

Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week

Senior captain, who has played at No. 1 singles for three years, was perfect at tournament for Sage Hill.

September 14, 2012|By Matt Szabo
  • Sage Hill School's Liana Korber is the Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week.
Sage Hill School's Liana Korber is the Daily Pilot… (DON LEACH, Daily…)

Liana Korber is now in her third straight year playing at No. 1 singles for the Sage Hill School girls' tennis team.

In a way it makes perfect sense. Korber definitely is her own individual.

She's the one who wears the multicolor shoes while on court, the shoes that are purple, pink and neon yellow with turquoise laces.

"I saw these shoes on a commercial during the French Open, and I ran to the computer," Korber said. "I had to get them. They're just very 'me.' It's almost as if they had consulted me on what colors they should use ... I often clash, but I think it works, because it's me."

Korber also is the one with whom Sage Hill Coach A.G. Longoria will often joke, because she's always running off to go to some concert. This was again true last weekend, when she went to go see Incubus and Linkin Park at the Home Depot Center.

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Longoria, who went to Woodstock in 1969, doesn't really mind the excursions. Still, he sometimes gives Korber a hard time.

"He just always comes up with very obscure band names," Korber said. "It's like, 'Are you going to see the Screeching Females?' [I say], 'No, sorry coach, I don't know who they are.'"

But people know who Korber is on the tennis court. Before she took off for that most recent concert, the Daily Pilot Athlete of the Week put on a memorable performance.

Korber went 4-0 in singles at the Lightning Invitational, as well as 4-0 in doubles with her co-captains Kimberly Brown and Lauren Hsu. The Lightning finished second to Newport Harbor at the five-team tournament, but it wasn't because of Korber's perfection.

She has worked hard in the off-season with her private coach, former UC Irvine standout Mike Saunders, to improve her game. Longoria has noticed.

"She's very focused," Longoria said. "Probably the strength of her game is her mental toughness. She knew that she needed to improve her serve, she needed to improve her ground strokes, and she needed to improve her net play. She's been working steadily on those things. They're still not where she wants them to be, or her coaches want them to be, but she's making steady progress on that. She made a big leap from last year to this year.

"Last year she was a grinder, she'd get every ball back. She's added a little bit more pace, a little bit more variety and a little bit more consistency with her serve. That's the biggest difference from last year to this year, which is really big, for her and for us."

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