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Girls' Tennis: Sage alone at the top

Lightning take down rival St. Margaret's to capture Academy League championship.

October 17, 2012|By Matt Szabo
(Courtesy of Dave…)

SAN CLEMENTE — Sage Hill School sophomores Amira Tarsadia and Natalie Meltzer each had different reasons to be nervous Wednesday afternoon at Rancho San Clemente Tennis Club.

The Lightning girls' tennis team was playing rival St. Margaret's in its league finale, and Coach A.G. Longoria paired Tarsadia and Meltzer together for the first time in doubles.

Tarsadia said she was a bit nervous because she went to St. Margaret's before high school. Meltzer was a bit apprehensive because this was the first time she had played the Tartans in a varsity match.

The two sophomores shined, winning two close sets that helped the Lightning claim the outright Academy League title with a 10-8 victory.

It is the first league title for Sage Hill (8-6, 8-0 in league), ranked No. 9 in CIF Southern Section Division 2, since 2007. No. 6-ranked St. Margaret's (5-2 in league) had won the last four league titles, going on to win a CIF championship each time. Three of the CIF title match victories came over the Lightning, who squandered match points in each one.

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Longoria said the outright title should help for playoff seeding. But it also just felt good to beat a rival.

"It feels awesome to be the undisputed champions," Sage Hill senior captain Liana Korber said. "Going into this, we were like, 'Well, we're still going to get our year on the banner in the gym, we're still going to be champions.' But I wanted it for Sage. I didn't want to share the title; I wanted to win outright. As a senior, it feels so good to be undefeated in league. Finally."

Korber certainly did her part at No. 1 singles, winning 18 of 19 games. She easily swept before heading to Long Beach Airport, where she was to take a red-eye flight to the East Coast for official visits to Tufts University and MIT.

The sweep included a 6-1 victory over Tartans junior Tessa Hurr, who had defeated Korber twice earlier this year. That set, in the first round, helped Sage Hill take a 4-2 lead.

"I kept a level head this time," Korber said. "I knew I had it in me. The past two times, I just let everything get to my head and got really tight, really nervous. This time, I was still really nervous, but I just kept it on the down low and kept my cool."

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