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Girls' Tennis: Panthers punish CdM

Sea Kings fall at top-seeded Peninsula in Division 1 semifinals. CdM will play in regionals next week.

November 14, 2013|By Matt Szabo

ROLLING HILLS ESTATES — Peninsula High girls' tennis coach Mike Hoeger wanted Wednesday afternoon's CIF Southern Section Division 1 semifinal match to move along as quickly as possible.

As Hoeger explained during the team introductions, the tennis courts at Peninsula High don't have lights. When the sun goes down over the hill, it gets dark fast.

"Do we want to go singles again?" Hoeger asked as he passed Corona del Mar's players near the end of the second round, ready to get everyone back on court.

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Nobody replied.

Nobody really wants to play singles against Peninsula this year.

The undefeated Panthers (22-0), who are the top seed in Division 1, have a very strong lineup. They highlighted it Wednesday, routing No. 4-seeded CdM, 15-3, to advance to the CIF title match for the first time in eight years.

Peninsula will play No. 2 seed University, which got past No. 3 seed Campbell Hall, 12-6, in another semifinal match. The Panthers and Trojans will play for the title Friday at 10:30 a.m. at The Claremont Club.

The season is not over for CdM (19-4). As a Division 1 semifinalist, Coach Brian Ricker said the Sea Kings are eligible for the CIF State Southern Regional championships for the first time. That tournament begins Tuesday.

The Sea Kings don't want to be on the same side of the draw as Peninsula in that tournament either. The Panthers' singles lineup of sophomore Ena Shibahara, senior Harvard commit Annika Ringblom and senior Jasmine Hosseini is simply too good. Shibahara is ranked No. 1 nationally in girls' 16s by the United States Tennis Assn.

Peninsula swept the semifinal match in singles, with all set scores either 6-0 or 6-1. Overall, the Panthers won 54 of 57 singles games, despite the best efforts of CdM sophomore Elena Fish, junior Riley Gerdau and junior Shelby Anderson.

"She was so good," Gerdau said of playing against Shibahara. "It brought up my confidence just getting points against them, because they were so good. I mean, it is cool to say that you've played the No. 1 girl in the nation. It was just fun to play her. She's really nice, too, so it made it a better experience. She was just amazing."

CdM did not have senior singles player Lauren Thaxter for Wednesday's match. Ricker said CdM's best player was undergoing acupuncture therapy. It was tough for CdM not to have her there, especially as Ricker said she played some of her best tennis in Monday's 11-7 quarterfinal win over Santa Barbara.

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