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CIF-SS DIV. 4 GIRLS TENNIS PLAYOFFS – Cerritos in a familiar position with second round win against Magnolia

CERRITOS HIGH senior Abigail Yoo posted 6-0 scores in two of her three sets against Magnolia High last Friday in a CIF-SS Division 4 second round playoff match. Yoo, the No. 2 singles player, helped guide the Lady Dons to a 12-6 victory over Magnolia and was one of five senior starters against the Sentinels.

 

 

November 11, 2021

By Loren Kopff • @LorenKopff on Twitter

There was a time when the Cerritos High girls tennis program was carving through the Suburban League, going 12-0 in league matches from 2002-2013 and 2015-2017 and advancing at least to the quarterfinals of the CIF-Southern Section playoffs 11 times during that span. Those days have been missing recently as the Lady Dons haven’t been out of the second round since 2014 despite winning league titles through 2019.

But following an impressive 12-6 win against Magnolia High last Friday afternoon in Division 4 action, the Lady Dons assured themselves of the program’s 12th visit to the quarterfinals since 2002. And Cerritos didn’t even win league this past season. The team went 11-4 in the regular season, was swept by Whitney High and split with Oxford Academy. Because of the second place finish in the 605 League, the Lady Dons drew a rare wild card match followed by a rare first round road match ahead of the home match with Magnolia.

“It’s been a rough season in general,” said Cerritos head coach Henry Ayesiga. “We started off slow and the team has been slowly improving. We’ve had a couple of good games and we finished second in the league. We were hoping to finish at the top, but we ended up tying with Oxford. We’ve had a few upsets here and there, but it makes us feel really great as a team right now.

Last season, Cerritos knocked off Crean Lutheran High in a Division 3 wild card match before falling to Trabuco Hills High 17-1 in the first round. On Nov. 2, the Lady Dons blanked Duarte High 18-0 in the wild card round, then had no problems with Rim of the World High on the road 15-3 Nov. 3. Since 2016, Cerritos had been bounced out in the first round three times.

The Lady Dons barely broke a sweat through the first round against the Sentinels as they won three sets by 6-0 scores and led 5-1. Senior Archisa Verma, the number three singles player began the match with a 6-0 win against Jennifer Ortiz. That was followed by senior Abigail Yoo, the number two singles player, breezing past Joanna Martinez 6-0 before junior Riley Flick, the number one singles player, fell to Diana Vo 6-3.

All three doubles teams picked up wins in the first round with relative ease. No. 1 senior Sina Mengistu and junior Lana Kijbumrungsilp got past Esmeralda Avalos and Ashley Ramales 6-2, No. 2 senior Anushka Panjwani and junior Tasha Kilbumrungsilp doubled up on Liana Sanjines and Sirijam Munira 6-3 and No. 3 juniors Aubrey Tran and Kaelyn D’Oyen blanked Karen Romero and Carla Guido 6-0.

Before the second round was over, the Lady Dons all but assured themselves they would keep their season going as they picked up four straight wins to lead 9-1. Flick bounced back to knock off Ortiz 6-0, Verma defeated Martinez 6-3, Mengistu/Lana Kijbumrungsilp whitewashed Sanjines/Munira 6-0 and Panjwani/Tasha Kijbumrungsilp posted a 6-2 win over Avalos/Ramales 6-2.

“We’re getting a lot of tough teams and they are pushing us,” Ayesiga said. “I actually like the competition we’re getting from the new league. It’s pushing our girls to push themselves a little more. They know that whenever they go on the tennis court, they’re going to have to push 120 percent. It’s not a given anymore; now they have to earn every win. So, it makes every victory even more meaningful at this point.”

Cerritos, the fifth ranked team in the division, had to wait until the third round to clinch the victory as Yoo fell to Vo 6-2 and Tran/D’Oyen lost to Sanjines/Munira by that same score to complete the second round. At this point, Cerritos simply needed to win five games throughout the six sets in the third round, and when Yoo blanked Ortiz 6-0 to begin the third round, that sealed the win for Cerritos and sent them into this past Monday’s quarterfinals against San Dimas High. Mengistu/Lana Kijbumrungsilp would complete a clean sweep of their sets by defeating Sanjines/Munira 6-0 to make it 11-3. After Vo knocked off Verma 6-0, the final win for Cerritos came from Tran/D’Oyen in a 6-0 win against Avalos/Ramales.

Sophomore Hannah Young would replace Flick in the third round and lost to Martinez 6-4 while seniors Sanjana Gupta and Elise Chung, replacements for Panjwani/Tasha Kijbumrungsilp, would fall to Romero/Guido 7-6 to wrap up the match.

“Abigail has actually been struggling with feet injuries throughout the season and she’s just starting to recover right now,” Ayesiga said. “She’s been having a very rough season. She finished fourth in the league compared to previous seasons where she was at least in the top three or the top two. So, this season has been a little hard on her. But in the playoffs, she’s been coming up strong and overall, she’s having better results compared to the [regular] season.”

Cerritos would tie San Dimas 9-9 this past Monday afternoon but lose in games 70-69 to end its season at 14-5.

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