5 Straight City Titles Captured for PaliHi Girls Tennis

The girls tennis team at Palisades High swept past Cleveland, 7-0, to claim its fifth straight L.A. City Section championship on Nov. 7.

Competing in the inaugural four-team Open Division tournament, top-seeded Palisades won its 25th City title in girls tennis.

Earlier that day, as Coach Bud Kling packed up at the high school to drive to the Balboa Sports Complex in Encino, he worried that it might be tough fight. Although his team had destroyed El Camino Real 7-0 to advance, second-seeded Cleveland had defeated Granada Hills, 4-3. (Pali and Granada had met in the finals six straight years.)

“I didn’t know these girls [Cleveland],” Kling said. “But they beat Granada Hills three times during the season. That’s kind of impressive.”

The Palisades High girls tennis team won yet another City Section championship.

His worries were unfounded as PaliHi won all four singles and three doubles matches. Number-one singles player Ireland Amato beat her competitor, 6-1, 6-1, and Ireland’s twin sister, Sophia, won 7-5, 6-0, in the number-two spot. The three and four players, Noe Winter and Sophia Arvin, each won their matches 6-1, 6-0.

Doubles play was equally impressive.

Ireland Amato. Photo: Bruce Hulse

Playing in the first position, Caroline Ross and Alex Miller won 6-1, 6-2. The second team of Halsey Hulse and Maddy Goore triumphed 6-3, 6-0, and Gigi Feingold and Kalea Martin were 6-1, 6-0 winners.

“I thought every match could be competitive,” Kling said afterwards. “But the kids stuck to the game plan and played calmly under pressure.

“I want to congratulate Cleveland, because [the West Valley League] is the toughest league in the Valley,” he said, and Cleveland won that league. Then he thanked the parents. “This is the best group of parents. They’ve provided wonderful support.”

GiGi Feingold.
Photo: Bruce Hulse

This was the largest team, 30 players, that Kling has fielded in his long career at Pali. “We did keep everyone who tried out,” he said, but it was a challenge for players to get court time because there were only five courts available for practice—two at the high school and three at the Palisades Recreation Center.

“I was blessed with depth,” Kling said, noting that if someone was sick or not playing well, he had another talented player who could move into that slot. “It was very competitive.”

Kling praised his girls, saying that they worked together well and the season was drama free. With only three seniors on the team, Alex Hart, Maddy Goore and Taylor Barfield, Pali should challenge for yet another city championship next year.

Noe Winter. Photo: Bruce Hulse

Juniors Ross and Miller, the top doubles team, have played together most of the sea- son and are friends off the court.

“We know each other from Paul Revere,” Miller said. “We played together there. We kind of know what the other person is feeling.” Ross praised her partner, saying “She’s good at putting away shots on the right.” Miller described Ross: “Her strength is her focus and being able to hit ground strokes for a really long time.”

Overall for the season, the Dolphins were 22-2, losing only to West Ranch and Palos Verdes. They finished 12-0 in league play. “This is the end to a really good regular season,” Kling said.

The team will now advance to the CIF regionals. On December 7, the finals of the City tournament for individual titles in singles and doubles will be held.

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