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Girls' Tennis: Sage finishes fourth

Lightning go winless at Prep Classic, but coach sees improvement as Academy League play looms.

September 21, 2013|By Matt Szabo
(Dave Siegmund )

NEWPORT BEACH — Sage Hill School sophomore Jaclyn Gerschultz is a three-sport star, as she also plays soccer and runs track.

Gerschultz also grew up playing softball, but the Lightning don't have a softball team.

It was on the tennis court Saturday at The Tennis Club where Gerschultz gained respect from her senior teammate and co-captain, Mara Beard. That respect came even in a loss, 8-1, to JSerra freshman Jadie Acidera at No. 1 singles in the Sage Hill Prep Classic.

"I was really proud of Jaclyn," Beard said. "I thought she really stuck out. She made that girl prove to her that she could hit every ball back, instead of Jaclyn just giving up because she knew the girl was going to beat her anyway. It was a triumphant loss, I guess you could say. She left the court with her dignity."

In a way that loss was symbolic of the weekend tournament for the Lightning. For though the hosts went 0-3 and finished fourth in the four-team round-robin tournament, Coach A.G. Longoria said his young Sage squad gained confidence for Academy League play, which begins Friday at home against Crean Lutheran.

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Sage Hill is the defending league champion but returns just four starters from that team: junior Amira Tarsadia and sophomores Gerschultz, Celine Wang and Natalie Meltzer.

"We've moved forward," Longoria said. "We're a better team than we were three weeks ago, and I think we couldn't have prepared better for the start of league ... We're building not only for this season, but for the next couple of years."

The Lightning still dropped a pair of matches Saturday. They fell to St. Ignatius of San Francisco, 6-3, in the format featuring five singles sets and four doubles sets. They then lost to JSerra, 7-2. Sage Hill did have two representatives on the 12-player all-tournament team, junior Poonan Patel and sophomore Connie Yu.

Teams had the option of playing girls in both singles and doubles, but Longoria opted not to have any girls play both. He got a good look at more players that way, and he said he would likely set the team's singles and doubles lineups on Monday.

JSerra, which went 3-0 to win the tournament, featured senior Newport Beach resident Eliza Day. St. Ignatius finished second, and Bishop Gorman High of Las Vegas was third.

Sage was tied with St. Ignatius, 2-2, after the doubles round. Yu and senior co-captain Briana Rayhaun won at No. 2 doubles, while Patel and sophomore Marina Anderson won at No. 4 doubles.

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