By Robert Campbell | LB Indy
Deadlocked at nine after 18 matches with Aliso Niguel, Laguna Beach High School girls’ tennis team lost its regular season finale 71-72 in a tiebreaker based on total games played. “It showed them how important one game can be,” Coach Don Davis said, hoping the experience will motivate his girls as they head into post-season play.
Laguna compiled a 16-4 record this year, their best since going 17-4 in 2008. They also won their ninth straight Orange Coast League title. “This is by far my best team,” said Davis, now in his fourth season.
A key member of Davis’ team is senior Summer Dvorak, currently ranked 13 in the United States Tennis Association’s southern California 18s division. The daughter of LBHS volleyball legend and 1984 Olympic gold medalist Dusty Dvorak and his wife Wendi, Summer spent her first 10 years in Laguna before moving with her family to Park City, Utah. “My parents wanted me to experience something different than So Cal,” she said.
A natural athlete, Summer’s first love was soccer, and she envisioned herself playing the sport into college. That is until the game became too physically demanding for someone of her small stature. And though she could play volleyball, her father’s sport wasn’t an option in her mind either. “I didn’t get any tall genes,” she said.
Growing up in an athletic family, “there’s never a dinner that goes by without one sport being mentioned,” said Summer. And when the Dvoraks don’t have a sport to talk about at the dinner table, they make one up, “like who can eat their cookie the fastest,” she said laughing.
Eventually Summer gave up all other competitive sports to concentrate solely on tennis, which she learned to play at an early age because, as her father told her, “It’s kind of a game for life.”
And though she still enjoys playing volleyball on the beach with her family, her heart will always be on the tennis court. “Even if I was six feet, I don’t love [volleyball] like I love tennis,” she said.
One of the reasons the Dvoraks returned to Laguna was to give Summer the opportunity to face better competition and gain more exposure to colleges. “She out grew her competition [in Utah] I think a long time ago,” said Davis, who didn’t know Summer would be playing for the Breakers until two weeks before the season started. “I think some of the other girls knew before I did,” he said laughing.
As it turns out, Summer has been mowing down the competition here as well, going undefeated in 20 regular season matches, including three-set sweeps against Santa Margarita, Beckman, San Clemente, Corona del Mar and Aliso Niguel. “Once she kind of gets her rhythm going, she just, you know, picks apart these girls,” said Davis.
But it was her solid play in southern California USTA matches last year that earned her an offer from Vanderbilt in Tennessee, the number one school on her wish list and currently number 11 in the NCAA standings. “It has everything I was looking for,” said Summer. “Everything kind of fell perfectly for me to be able to go there.”
“I think every college coach would like to have at least one player like her,” said Davis, who hopes Dvorak, Kira Hamilton, Bailey Yeager and the rest of the sixth-ranked Breakers have the momentum to make it deep into post season. “If our nine starters are healthy, I think we’re actually the team to beat [in CIF],” he said.
Photo by Robert Campbell
LBHS senior Summer Dvorak excels on a court different from the one dominated by her dad, an Olympic volleyball gold medalist.