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Sofia Echeverria reaches third round of CIF tournament

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

Sofia Echeverria, who is a junior at Mission Hills High School but lives in Fallbrook and took lessons at the Fallbrook Tennis Club, reached the third round of singles competition at the CIF individual tournament Oct. 30 through Nov. 4 at the Balboa Tennis Club in San Diego.

Three Fallbrook residents participated in the CIF tournament although the other two were eliminated in the first round of singles play. Echeverria’s sister, Victoria, is a freshman at Mission Hills and also took lessons at the Fallbrook Tennis Club as did Fallbrook High School senior Angie Palmerin.

“I think I definitely did a really good job,” Sofia Echeverria said.

All semifinalists in their league tournament qualified for the CIF tournament, and a backdraw with the quarterfinals losers determined the fifth-place singles and doubles players who would continue their season at the CIF competition.

Sofia Echeverria won the singles championship at the Palomar League tournament Oct. 16-18 at Mission Hills High School; Victoria Echeverria placed third, and Palmerin took fourth place.

The first two singles rounds were played Oct. 30. Palmerin’s first-round opponent, Point Loma sophomore Noel Allen, was fifth in the Western League tournament.

Allen took 6-3 and 6-4 victories over Palmerin. Allen subsequently defeated her second-round opponent before losing in the third round to a seeded player.

“Good match. Pretty good points,” said Fallbrook coach Bill Lenaway.

“She’s a good opponent,” Palmerin said. “When I play against better people, I perform better.”

Victoria Echeverria lost her first-round match to Vincent Memorial sophomore Romina Rodriguez, who lost in the Imperial Valley League semifinal (that league did not have third-place matches). Rodriguez defeated Echeverria in 6-2 and 6-1 sets.

“That match was definitely really challenging,” Echeverria said. “I was definitely doing stuff that I normally wouldn’t.”

Echeverria noted that her CIF tournament debut taught her the need to be more patient and to react faster. “It’s just more how to play,” she said.

Sofia Echeverria lost in the first round of last year’s CIF singles tournament after injuring her thigh during the first set. This year, Echeverria faced Coronado freshman Madison Brown in the first round and won 6-2, 6-1.

Coronado is in the Eastern League and Brown won the singles backdraw in the league tournament for fifth place. Kaidan Miller, who is a Cathedral Catholic junior, lost to Allen in the Western League fifth-place match but had a high enough universal tennis rating to earn alternate status to the CIF tournament and replaced a scratched player. Miller and Echeverria faced each other in the second round. Echeverria took a 6-3, 6-2 victory.

“I think we both played really great,” Echeverria said.

The top two singles players and doubles teams are given specific seeds, the next two players and doubles teams have unspecified 3‑4 seeds, four singles players and four doubles tandems are unspecified 5-8 seeds, eight players and duos are given unspecified 9-16 seeds, and another four players or partners receive unspecified 17-20 seeds.

The top 16 seeds have byes for the first two rounds. The reward for winning the first two rounds is thus having to face a seeded player in the third round, which took place Nov. 1. Echeverria had a match against 5-8 seed Judy Huh, who is a Torrey Pines freshman. Huh advanced to the Coastal League championship match, which was not completed, so Huh was declared a league co-champion.

“She was a real strong player,” Echeverria said of Huh.

Huh eventually lost in the quarterfinals to the top seed. Her win over Echeverria had a 6-1, 6-0 score.

“I just had to move more on my feet,” Echeverria said.

Echeverria considered her loss to a player seeded among the top eight to be a lesson rather than a disappointment. “It’s definitely a lesson learned, but I think it was a good lesson,” she said.

“It’s always good to play a player like she faced today,” said Mission Hills coach Dave LaVine.

“She played a great tournament,” LaVine said of Echeverria. “It was some of the best tennis that she played all year.”

“It was a really great season,” Echeverria said.


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