Dons’ CIF hopes dashed in semis

Taryn Mjelde eyes a return on Thursday. The junior played doubles with Stephanie Thornton.

San Marino's Dorothy Tang swings through a forehand in the third round on Thursday.

For the seniors on Santa Barbara High’s girls tennis team, Thursday’s CIF semifinal loss to San Marino ended their season one match too early. The second-seeded Dons were as close as could be to Monday’s Division II championship match, but fell 73-66 after playing San Marino to a 9-9 tie in regulation on the Dons’ courts.

“It was just so close,” said a teary-eyed Hayley Hranicky-Galitzer. “I think the saddest part is just that, for us seniors, it’s the end of the tennis season but kind of like the beginning of us moving on from high school.”

“It’s been so much fun,” Galitzer continued. “I’ve had such great moments on this team. This year was the most fun just because the team really bonded. I walk away with so many great memories and great friends.”

The Dons will lose seven players to graduation this year, including five from Thursday’s starting lineup. It was the last high school match for Galitzer, Grace Flintermann, Ariana Hudson, Talia Hudson, Stephanie Thornton, Savannah Fox and Stephanie Conliffe.

“We’ve had a great year. We’ve been to every big tournament and we played every great team in California.  We competed well,” said Dons head coach Steve Geremia, who had hoped to lead the Dons to their first CIF title match since 2006. “We competed well today we just didn’t win. That happens as regrettable as it is.”

San Marino, which moved up to Division II this year after winning a CIF title in Division III last year, holds a 16-1 record.

“Both teams played so well. It’s a shame there has to be one winner and one loser,” said first-year San Marino head coach Ron Muchica.

The Titans were carried by top singles players Dorothy Tang and Sarah Gealer. Both are top-flight junior players with national rankings. The pair were responsible for six of San Marino’s nine wins and their combined 36-6 advantage in games was the difference in the match.

Even with Gealer and Tang winning their two sets in the first round, Santa Barbara grabbed a 4-2 lead after the first round. The doubles teams of Taryn Mjelde/Stephanie Thornton and Megan Grant/Karina Thornton won hard-fought sets at 7-5 to put the Dons in front.

But the Titans turned the tide in the second round by winning all three singles sets and adding a doubles win from Tammy Le and Vivian Le, who also won a pivotal match in the third round.

“They came through for us today,” Machuca said of the Le sisters. “Without those two wins we couldn’t have gotten close. I’m really happy for them.”

Monday’s CIF title match will be held at the Claremont Club along with all other CIF Southern Section Divisions. Newport Harbor and Arcadia met on Thursday to determine the opponent.


SAN MARINO 9, SANTA BARBARA 9 (Titans win 73-66)

SB Singles – H. Galitzer 1-2, G. Flintermann 1-2, L. Santry 0-3. SM Singles – Tang 3-0, Gealer 3-0, Phillips 1-2.

SB Doubles – A. Hudson/T. Hudson 3-0, K. Thornton/M. Grant 2-1, T. Mjelde/S. Thornton 2-1. SM Doubles – T. Le/V. Le 2-1, M. Cheng/C. Yeng 0-3, M. Gandawidjaja/Mo. Gandawidjaja 0-3.


  1. This is what happens when Geremia pops off in the paper the day of the match. When will he learn???? Santa Barbara has great tennis teams. The downfall is Geremia and his quotes to news outlets.