La Cañada High's Ally McKenzie caps Rio Hondo League title
Tennis: Spartans girls' junior singles player loses just three games to win first championship.
La CaÃ±ada High's Ally McKenzie, playing in a Halloween costume, makes a forehand return in the finals en route to capturing the Rio Hondo League individual girls' singles title on Thursday at Live Oak Park. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer) (October 31, 2013)
Most players would probably be delighted losing just three games. Not so for McKenzie, a junior singles player on the La Cañada High girls’ tennis team.
PHOTOS: Rio Hondo League girls' tennis finals
“I just feel like I had an off-day,” said the top-seeded McKenzie, who recorded a 6-0, 6-3 victory against second-seeded Joy Huang of Temple City in the league final Thursday at Live Oak Park. “I missed some of my first serves, which I normally don’t do.
“I’m honored and it’s awesome to win. I didn’t feel like I played my best. I felt like I got lucky at times.”
Earlier, McKenzie, who will advance to the CIF Southern Section Individual Tournament on Nov. 25 at a site to be determined, posted a 6-0, 6-0 semifinal victory against Sawa Keymeulan of La Cañada.
La Canada Coach Will Moravec said McKenzie, who became the first Spartan to win a singles title since Kim Gilmour accomplished the feat in 2001, was able to wear down her opponents with timely ground stokes.
“She’s able to go out there and wear the other play down,” said Moravec, whose team is tied for 10th in the latest CIF Southern Section Division II poll with Yorba Linda and Placentia Valencia after placing second in league. “She’s got that excellent ground stroke, plus she can find other ways to be creative to open up the court.”
Keymeulan finished third in league with a 6-2, 6-0 victory against third-seeded Shayna Partovi of San Marino.
In doubles, top-seeded Cassie McKenzie and Sharyse Watanabe of La Cañada fell in the semifinals to fourth-seeded Vivian Lee and Monique Gandawidjaja of San Marino. The Titans’ tandem won, 6-2, 3-6, 10-0.
Moravec said the La Canada duo struggled early in the first set.
“I think they just came out too tight,” Moravec said. “They were never able to get that moment where they could seize control.
“It’s a lot to do with being able to handle your emotions. You play better when you are relaxed.”
McKenzie and Watanabe regrouped in the third-place match, registering a 6-2, 6-1 victory against sixth-seeded Symona Stans and Ashley Huang of South Pasadena.
San Marino’s Devon Jack and Madeleine Gandawidjaja, who were the second seed, won the league championship with a 6-4, 6-1 win against Le and Monique Gandawidjaja.