Tuesday, October 30, 2018

New Open Division for girls tennis playoffs shrinks before first serve

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A new Open Division for the girls tennis playoffs, previewed by the CIF-Southern Section as an eight-team tournament, surprisingly shrunk to six teams Monday during the release of the draw.

University, Orange County’s top-ranked team and No. 1 in the section, earned the top seed as expected but will have a first-round bye in the six-team tournament. The Trojans will not play until the semifinals Nov. 7.

University will need two wins to capture the section crown.

“I am mixed,” University coach John Kessler said of the field. “With the old way, the top teams played a lot of tennis in a short period of time and missed a lot of school. … I am not sure about six. I am concerned about getting out of the routine with over a week off. We shall see.”

Corona del Mar, ranked No. 2 in Orange County, also earned a bid to Open Division. The Sea Queens open Friday at home against Palos Verdes, whom they beat 10-8 in Newport Beach early in the season.

The winner plays University in the semifinals.

“It is what it is,” Corona del Mar coach Jamie Gresh said. “CdM is excited to play in the Open Division.”

Campbell Hall earned the No. 2 seed and will play the winner of Arcadia and Peninsula in the semifinals.

Mira Costa and Foothill were ranked seventh and eighth in the final Division 1 poll and stayed in Division 1 instead of the Open Division. They are seeded first-second, just ahead of No. 3 Beckman, which won Division 2 last season.

“The best teams were selected to play in the open division,” said Thom Simmons, Southern Section spokesman and assistant commissioner. “We do not feel the need to create an Open Division and then simply fill a bracket to fill a bracket.”

The Pacific Coast League could also fare well in Division 2 this season. Woodbridge earned an at-large berth and the top seed in Division 2.

Magnolia and Century are seeded second and third in Divisions 4 and 5, respectively.


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