Back to back wins at the Balboa Tennis Center by the Palisades High School Girls Tennis Team on May 13 and by the Boys May 14, gave the school its 65th Team Title and Kling’s 48th.
Next up for the athletes are the individuals and State Regionals on Monday June 7.
Pali Girls Win City Tennis Championships
Palisades girls won its 27 City Championship on May 13 at the Balboa Park against Granada Hills. This open division championships was long-time coach Bud Kling’s 20th girl’s title.
The Highlanders and Dolphins have faced each other over the years, with Granada prevailing in 2019. In the playoffs, girls use a head-to-head, best-of-seven format.
Number one singles player Iris Berman prevailed 6-0,6-0. Halsey Hulse, in the third spot, won 6-0,6-3 and fellow senior Kalea Martin in the fourth spot, also won 6-3,6-1.
According to sports writer Steve Galluzzo, “The only match with any drama was at number 2 singles, where Noe Winter battled Granada Hills’ Anisa Londhe for over two hours before falling 10-8 in a super tiebreaker.”
Sophomores Jade Finestone and Anaya Ayanbadejo played and won in the number one doubles spot 6-1,6-0. Freshman Sophie Szeder paired with senior Ciara Kenney to win in the number 2 doubles spot 6-3, 6-2. Freshmen Yulia Klokova and Marlena Dobrowolski completed the doubles sweep with a 6-2, 6-0 win at number 3.
The team defeated Taft 7-0 in the semifinals on May 11. Palisades holds the record, 8, for most consecutive girls’ titles (1984-1991).
Pali Boys Win in Unbelievable Fashion
Bud Kling’s team won the open division tennis championship in an amazing comeback over Granada Hills (15.5 to 14) on May 14. This is the 12th consecutive City men’s title and Klings 38th title overall. Although the Dolphins were the top seed, both teams were evenly matched, and it wasn’t until the final serve that PaliHi cinched the victory.
“This is certainly one of the most exciting and most improbable final victories in my 40+ years of coaching!!” Coach Bud Kling wrote in an email to CTN.
The Palisades team had won one and lost one in singles. The doubles had won one. In order to win, a team must score 15 points and the Dolphins were behind 14-11.
“Pali came back to win the last four matches, two were in tiebreakers (number 3 and 4 singles),” Kling told CTN.
The final score: singles 8-8 and doubles Pali 5-4. “The team and parents went wild,” Kling said.
Seniors Alex Brous and Jeremy Nelson won one set in the number one position. Sophomores Peter Garff and Connor Wootten won all three of their sets at number 2. Sophomore Jack Coven who was paired with junior Lucas Dickman won a set in the number 3 spot.
Sophomore Jex Frankel won all of his sets in the number 1 position. But then the Dolphins suffered a setback when number 2 singles player Noah Azaret, who had won his first set 6-4, suffered cramping and had to default his last two sets. An injury substitution was not allowed. Sophomore Todd Valkov upset Granada Hills’ Dylan Brown 7-4 in a tiebreaker in the last rotation of singles.
With only one game left, the championship titled came down to Number 3 player, junior Luke Shuman.
Whoever prevailed in this game would take the title. Shuman lost his first set before rallying to win the next seven points and the final set in a tiebreaker for the clinching point in the boys’ 15 1/2 to 14 win.
“Talk about nerves of steel,” Kling said. “I’ve never seen a scenario like this where a team had to win its last four sets to pull it out.”