The LookOut sports

Santa Monica Sports Notes

The Santa Monica Bobby Sox Division 3A all-star team is receiving plaudits for winning the national 13-and-under tournament by defeating a team from Hawaii, 3-2, in the championship game. It is the first time Santa Monica has been national champions in this division.

Christine Foley pitched the title game and many others along the way. Brittany Garland also pitched and was the team's catcher. Logan Kinsey was an all-star infielder. Other strong contributors were Ali Sheaffer, Pascale Coupal-Sikes, Nikki Ross, Rose Robitaille, Lana Bowie, Miranda Moriarty, Yvette Garcia, Kate Adams and Ryan Hall...

The team was managed by Bill Shaeffer and Jim Hall...

The Ultimate Soccer League, a circuit for collegiate women players, has concluded its season. Among the league's scoring leaders was Jacqueline Fodor of Santa Monica, who ranked eighth. She also did some nifty passing and was fifth in assists...

Ruben Lawrence, one of Samohi's best linemen last season, will play football this season for Santa Monica College, which opens its season Sept. 8 at home against College of the Desert...

SM's Irvin Eyes Top 50 on Womens' Tennis Tour

By Mitch Chortkoff

The education of Santa Monica's Marissa Irvin as a tennis professional was boosted dramatically in Los Angeles' annual tournament last week.

In the event in Manhattan Beach Irvin played the first and second centercourt matches in her pro career, which began in 2000. She defeated Cory Ann Avants and lost to Monica Seles.

Irvin, who played No. 1 singles on the 1999 national championship team at Stanford, has the strokes and power to be a winning pro. She needs experience.

``I had problems with a sprained ankle and injured an arm last year and my ranking, which was as high as 66, slipped to 99 at the end of the year,'' she said. ``My goal for this year is to get into the top 50.''

Irvin was born at Saint John's Hospital and lived with her parents in Santa Monica as she played in youth tennis tournaments. She went to Harvard-Westlake High, then Stanford. In less than two years as a pro she has won more than $115,000.

Her father, Richard, was an All-American volleyball player at UCLA. Her mother, Helene, has been instrumental in guiding her through the early portion of her tennis career. Brother Richard is a three-sport star at Harvard-Westlake.

In the 2000 NCAA Final, two Stanford players qualified for the championship match. Irvin then lost to teammate Laura Granville.

At Manhattan Beach Irvin lost the first set to Avants, a 16-year-old with plenty of talent. But she won the second and third.

``Her experience made a difference,'' said Avants. ``She's raised her game and played the big points well.''

Irvin then played Seles two nights later and made a representative showing. Although Irvin lost, 6-3, 6-2, she had her moments, hitting some shots that drew major applause from the fans. She also showed off her powerful serve, consistently serving more than 100 mph, with a high of 109.

``The serve was the strength of her game,'' said Seles.

Irvin has come a long way since playing her first match at age 8 in the Santa Monica Open.

``I played Venus Williams at Samohi,'' she recalls. ``She won easily. She was twice as big as me and had a racquet twice as big. But I fell in love with the sport.''

There is no clear-cut favorite for the upcoming U.S. Open now that Seles has made an impressive comeback from several years of problems to join the Williams sisters, Lindsay Davenport and Martina Hingis at the top. Then there's a large group of talented players who could upset the highest ranked ones, including Irvin.

``There are a lot of personalities on the womens' tour now,'' said Irvin. ``I think the tour has a lot to offer.''
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