“It was a close match,” said Palisades High School tennis Coach Bud Kling. But his team prevailed 15 ½ to 14 to help him reach his 29th City Section Title on October 27.
The Dolphins defeated Granada Hills to win the Open Division trophy in the finals at Balboa Sports Center in Encino. “It was very close and very exciting,” Kling said.
For the first time in City history, round-robin scoring was used in the girls’ playoffs, but that didn’t stop the top-seeded Dolphins, who claimed their fifth title in six years, since the four-team Open Division was added in 2017.
Kling explained that round robin means all four singles players play Granada Hills four and the double players each play the other school’s doubles teams.
Nothing was certain in the finals because two of Kling’s top players had injured themselves earlier in the season and hadn’t played in weeks.
In the number one position, Jade Finestone took two of her matches. In the second position, Anaya Ayanbadejo won all four.
“Anaya beat Granada’s number one player Sayuri Parandian, that was huge,” Kling said. Third and fourth singles players Yulia Klokova and Sophie Szeder each won one.
The doubles of Nicole Nguyen and Anne Kelly won two of three, as did the double team of Anais Israels and Ella Engel. If the third doubles team, Simon McClary and Becca Rosenblatt could win, it would give Palisades the edge (and they took the third match 6-0)
PaliHi has won nine of last City Sections and the Highlanders have faced the Dolphins 11 times in the last 12 seasons. Last fall Pali beat Granada 5-2, under the head-to-head best-of-seven format. Granada Hills last won in 2019.
To reach the finals the Dolphins beat El Camino Real, 24 to 5 ½.