As noted in a recent Angelus News article, the Fernandez family of Bishop Montgomery High School in Torrance made history in the 1970s when four sisters (twins Anna Maria and Anna Lucia, and twins Cecilia and Elisa) who were coached by their mother Dolores captured individual and team championships in the CIF-Southern Section girls’ tennis tournament.

Anna Maria twice defeated Anna Lucia in the individual finals (in 1975 and 1976), and they teamed up to defeat Cecilia and Elisa for the 1977 doubles title. As a team, Bishop Montgomery won the 1977 4A championship.

Since then, few local Catholic school players have reached the CIF individual and doubles finals. Only Karen Shin of Chaminade in West Hills has won an individual title, in 1984, a year after she was runner-up. Leigh Ann Eldredge of Mayfield in Pasadena (1980) and Melissa Esmero of Mater Dei in Santa Ana (1999) also reached the finals, as did the doubles tandem of Erynne and Aimee Oki of Notre Dame in Sherman Oaks in 2004.

But Catholic schools have been well represented on the CIF team championship roster starting in 1982 when Louisville of Woodland Hills won the 1A crown, then was runner-up to Chaminade in 1983 (decided by Chaminade’s 81-69 advantage in games won, after the teams tied 9-9 in sets won).

Chaminade finished second in 1984’s 2A competition and returned to the 2A winner’s circle in 1986. La Reina in Thousand Oaks finished runner-up three straight years (1984-86) in 1A, and Mater Dei was second in 3A in 1985.

Mayfield posted the longest successful run of any Catholic school, winning the 1A championship four straight years (1985-88), including two wins over La Reina and one over St. Joseph of Santa Maria in 1987. St. Lucy’s of Glendora was runner-up in 2A in 1988, and St. Joseph (SM) won the 1989 Small Schools title.

As the CIF divisional alignment changed in the 1990s, Catholic schools continued to represent in the girls’ team finals. Rosary of Fullerton was second (2A) in 1991, and won Division IV in 1996, beating Chaminade in the final. Chaminade came back to win in 1997.

La Reina won Division V titles in 1994 and 1995, and Mater Dei finished second in Division II in 1997, then won in 1998 and 1999. St. Lucy’s was runner-up (Division II) in 1993.

St. Bonaventure of Ventura enjoyed a strong run in the first decade of the 2000s, winning Division IV in 2002, reaching the finals in 2003, and finishing as Division V runner-up in 2006 and 2007. Villanova Prep of Ojai was second in Division IV in 2005. And in 2016, Chaminade took second in Division 4.

Post-season competition in the 2017 girls’ tennis season is scheduled to begin Oct. 30, and ends Nov. 30.

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