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It takes two for the Rebels

Girls' tennis: Flintridge Prep will lean on its singles play, as other La Cañada teams play wait and see.

August 31, 2011|By Charles Rich and Andrew Shortall, charles.rich@latimes.com and andrew.shortall@latimes.com

Kira Lee and Jenise Vargas' shoulders proved to be strong enough to carry the Flintridge Prep girls' tennis team last year.

Ron Catano hopes his top two singles players can repeat the feat again this year. Lee, a senior, and Vargas, a junior, give the Rebels something most teams can only dream of in an experienced and dominant singles duo.

Flintridge Prep placed third in the Prep League last season, but saw Lee and Vargas have their customary stellar seasons. Lee, the two-time reigning All-Area Singles Player of the Year, went 30-0 in the regular season last year and was named the league's most valuable player. She also reached the round of 32 at the CIF Individuals competition for the first time.

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Vargas finished 57-3, including going 29-1 in league and 5-1 in six postseason sets.

Catano is expecting the duo to again carry the Rebels, who will bring back their top doubles team of Abby Letts and Young-In Kim, who went 28-5 and earned All-Area recognition last season.

"They are two very talented players and you know they will go out there and battle," said Catano, who was named All-Area Coach of the year last season. "We will have a great lineup in singles.

"We expect to go after the league championship. Once we get to playing matches, we'll have a better feel for what they can do."

La Cañada High Coach Will Moravec is calling this season a "rebuilding year." The Spartans return half of their top doubles team from last year in Sydney Fischel. Fischel, a junior, and Missy Antonopolis, who graduated last year, went 36-8 overall (17-4 in the Rio Hondo League) last year for a fourth-place league finish.

Moravec still hasn't decided whether or not he'll move Fischel into singles or pair her up with a new doubles partner or who will step into the No. 1, 2 and 3 roles on the doubles and singles side. The Spartans do return five juniors from last year — Linnea Frazier, Sharon Kim, Lynn Gilmour, Alison Chang and Anjalie Jain.

The Spartans' season ended in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division II playoffs in a 10-8 loss to St. Lucy's. They took second in league with a 10-6 (6-2 in league) record, but may struggle early in 2011 without any clear top singles or doubles candidates, outside of Fischel.

"We have to try to find ourselves this year," Moravec said. "We have to find out where our points are going to come from."

Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy will have Coach Ron Zambrano back. Zambrano returns for the first time since 2008 and for his 11th year overall.

With the Tologs expected to rebuild, Zambrano will look to piece together talent with the goal of moving up in the Mission League. Sacred Heart will bring back senior singles players Emily Katz and Elizabeth Williamson.

"We've had some good practices and it's OK to start building for the future," Zambrano said. "We are looking forward to rebuilding, and, whether we win or lose, we want to be proud of what we do."

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