Student Stars, Family Players Earn Bragging Rights


By Garry Glaub, Special to the Independent


Olav Nasiell

The stars from Laguna Beach High School shone brightly at the 55th annual city tennis tournament played Oct.  27-28 at Alta Laguna Park.

In the 4.0 women’s singles final, LBHS senior Dominique Willette survived two match points in the second set against freshman Ashley Shelton, and managed to pull out a hard fought 2-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-2 victory.

While Willette was playing in the final, her father John was battling Olov Nasiell in the Men’s 4.5/5.0 Singles final, with Nasiell winning 6-1, 6-4.  Confounding opponents with his lefty kick serve, Nasiell then paired with son Oliver to capture the Men’s 4.5/5.0 Doubles final over John Hobgood and Bill Hampton, 6-2, 6-3.

As is often the case in the local tournament, it’s a family affair, and this one was filled with Nasiells and Willettes.  While Nasiell was the only entrant to win two titles, the Willettes also made it to the Mixed 3.5/4.0 Doubles final, but with five sets completed on the sultry day, Dominique withdrew with back spasms before playing the mixed final.  With CIF playoffs beginning this week, she chose the team over personal accolades.  That gave the mixed title to Antony Besso and Maria Szakacs, who lost only two games in the tournament.  Besso wielded a tough slice backhand and a powerful serve, and Szakacs lost a tight singles match to Shelton, also showing her classic strokes.  This pair demonstrated that it is not time for the younger generation to take over just yet!

Dominique Willette and Ashley Shelton

That event also featured Rob Lebby, who spent more time on the court Saturday than anyone else, dropping a tight 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 match against Boris “The Condor” Piskun in Men’s 3.5 Singles, before pairing wife Wieke in her first career tournament match in mixed.  Tim and Bonnie Davis defeated the Lebby’s 7-6 (7-4), 6-0 in the match consisting of the nicest players in tournament history.  There were more compliments than errors, more smiles than aces, and more encouragement than pains.

Clark Collins edged Piskun in the Men’s 3.5 Singles final, 6-4, 5-7, 6-2, with both finalists being regular participants in the city recreation division’s adult lessons, proving that old dogs can learn new tricks.  It was not the largest tournament in the 55-year history of the tournament, but new friendships blossomed, old friends came together and local tennis was the catalyst. 55 and counting!


Gary Glaub teaches tennis locally.

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