Carson reloads after big 2 exit
Judy DeVera and Dianne Matias are at USC, but the cupboard is not empty.
y By Tony Ciniglio
When the Carson girls tennis team opens its season Sept. 23 at North Hollywood, a sobering realization will hit the squad: Judy DeVera and Dianne Matias are no longer on the team.
Coach Gordon Emi acknowledged DeVera and Matias are irreplaceable. DeVera, the 2001 L.A. City champion, and Matias, the 2002 City champion, are both at USC.
“I realize that when you lose two college-bound players, you’re going to be rebuilding,” said Emi, whose team won City titles in 2000 and 2001 with runner-up finishes in 1999 and 2002.
“We’re going to have to grind it out and fight it out. I don’t anticipate many 7-0 victories anymore. My expectations are not sky high.
“We can still take the Marine League, but competing with Granada Hills and Palisades is going to be tough.”
In addition to losing DeVera and Matias, Emi said another top player, Genelyn Ramos, is taking the year off.
While Emi tries to pick up the pieces, other Marine League coaches assert that his cupboard isn’t completely bare. Those coaches acknowledge they have to scramble to put together a full team while Emi’s program draws a large number of girls who work with the program year-round.
Emi will look to senior Cielo Domingo, a veteran of Carson’s program, to take over as the No. 1 singles player. Sophomore Tisha Sutphin gained valuable experience on last year’s squad.
Senior Chessie Sabac is new to the program, but is expected to play a vital role. Emi says she played tennis as recreation until this year. Sophomores Shiela Pacleb and J’aimee Mission also have varsity experience.
“We’re young, but not inexperienced,” Emi said. “We have a lot of players and a lot of depth, but we don’t have the players at the top who can give us an automatic win like Judy and Dianne. It’s going to be more of a struggle, but we’ll see what happens.”
Team captain Aura Abing returns and provides a strong foundation for the Gauchos. Coach Yanaal Aga expressed excitement about the return of Natalie Guardado, last year’s No. 2 player who was ineligible for the second half of last season. Abing and Guardado should take some of the sting away from losing Meggie Nguyen, who graduated. Seniors Wanda Han and Kristina Sales, and junior Anna Nguyen also return, giving the Gauchos a solid corps of experienced players that helped Narbonne (9-4) place second in league last year and advance to the City Invitational semifinals.
 San Pedro:
Coach Joanna Jones-Reed has returned after a one-year hiatus, and she expressed excitement about seniors Angela Godoy and Molly McMullen competing for the top spot. Godoy missed a large part of last season due to scarlett fever, but has since recovered and appears stronger than ever. McMullen enjoyed a stellar summer, and Jones-Reed said their competition will rub off on the rest of the team. Sisters Paola, a senior, and Gracelyn Cammareri, a freshman, also figure to contribute in singles play. The Pirates will look to juniors Shannon Jefferson and Racquel Kussman, sophomore Sarah Iacono, and freshmen Lindsay Davis and Roomana Patil to step up in doubles.
Coach Daron Andrade is taking a one-year leave of absence from coaching, so Athletic Director Ed Kamiyama, who coached the boys in the spring, takes over the girls team. Senior Aja Tapscott returns as the Panthers’ No. 1 player, and junior Carmen Zhong moves from doubles to singles to bolster Gardena’s attack. Junior Sharon Kang and sophomore Ashley Amos also look to be in the singles mix, and juniors Trang Le and Alice Huang will be the top doubles team.
Coach Thomas Kilgore said he is excited about the return of senior Karina Melgoza, and hopes several new players will be able to step up around her.
In the Western League . . .
The Comets, a surprise City championship semifinalist last year, graduated 12 players, but still boast some star power. Coach Kandy Chain said junior Simone Green, a transfer from Bravo Magnet, will take over the top spot. Green is ranked in the top 30 in her USTA age group. Junior Princess Manasseh and senior Monika Brackett also provide reason for excitement. Manasseh captured the Watts Summer Games Tournament, and Brackett finished second. They combined to win the gold medal in doubles as well. Chain said she may use them as a doubles team during the end-of-the-year City doubles tournament, hoping to follow last year’s individual semifinal run by Becky Bort- Mills and Charilyn Watkins, both of whom graduated. Seniors Anna Zelaya and Dawn Stillwell are up from the junior varsity team. Westchester, which lost to eventual City champion Granada Hills in the semifinals, will challenge Palisades for the league title.
Copyright Copley Press Inc. 2003
Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved.