QUARTZ HILL_ A look at the Golden League tennis season: Team of the Year: Quartz Hill Junior singles standout Ashley Litchfield set the tone for what was one of Quartz Hill’s most successful seasons in school history. Quartz Hill has dominated the Antelope Valley circuit for years, winning 17 consecutive Golden League titles. In advancing to the Southern Section Div. IV semifinals for the first time since 1992, it brought a measure of respect to an area not as highly regarded as its coastal counterparts. After staving off a tough challenge from upstart Highland, which narrowly lost to Quartz Hill 10-8, the Rebels, who were ranked 10th in the last Southern Section Div. IV poll, upset Rio Mesa of Oxnard and Oak Park in second round and quarterfinal matches, 10-8 and 11-7. Quartz Hill lost to section champion Beverly Hills 12-6 in the semifinals. Player of the Year: Ashley Litchfield, Quartz Hill AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals As one of the few players ranked among the top 100 in the USTA’s Southern California region among 18-and-unders who live North of the 405/I-5 interchange (she’s ranked No. 52), Litchfield faced constant pressure to lead her team. She thrived amid that pressure, winning the league’s individual title against Highland’s Zahra Ghorbani, and becoming just the second player in school history to advance to the third round of the Southern Section individual playoffs. Coach of the Year: Bill Lenaway, Quartz Hill Lenaway may have made leading Quartz Hill to its 17th consecutive league title – all under his coaching tenure – easy, but it wasn’t. A vocal conditioning proponent, Lenaway literarily walked the walk, participating in the grueling sprint drills he directed his players to do. Lenaway got a young team with just three seniors among its nine regular starters to maintain its composure amid intense pressure. He also showed himself to be imaginative, employing several lineup shakeups including bringing up freshman ground stroke specialist Navolita Ikahihifo to team up with junior Renuka Rudra on the Rebels’ No. 1 doubles team during the regular season, and then moving No. 2 singles player Prapti Singh into Ikahihifo’s spot for the league championships. Biggest surprise: Carolyn Smith, Quartz Hill An unpolished doubles player as a freshman last season, Smith developed into a poised sophomore in the No. 3 singles spot was a key factor in Quartz Hill’s title run. Her season highlights included an upset victory over Ghorbani in the first meeting between the two teams. Biggest disappointment: Southern Section pollsters Quartz Hill had success in virtually every venue they participated, and shockingly kept falling in the Southern Section Div. IV rankings as the season progressed. The Rebels’ only regular-season loss was to Div. III finalist Valencia. Quartz Hill won its own tournament and placed second at the Valencia tournament. The Rebels had the last laugh on the pollsters though, with victories over No. 4 Oak Park and No. 5 Rio Mesa. A look ahead: Quartz Hill returns virtually its entire nucleus, most notably Ashfield and Smith, and with Beverly Hills moving up to Div. I next season, the Rebels figure to be poised for a title run. “A lot of it will depend on how hard they work in the offseason, but with Beverly Hills out of our division I’ve got to look at my team and think we’ve got a chance of winning the title next year,” Lenaway said. Gideon Rubin, (818)713-3607 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!