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It takes two for Le, Phillips

Tennis: Vivian Le and Larissa Phillips relied on each other for success after being paired as San Marino's top doubles team.

January 06, 2012|By Mario Aguirre, Special to the Sun

It wasn't unusual this season to see opposing teams essentially raise the white flag when it came time to compete against the San Marino High girls' tennis singles.

Some teams pulled their top individual players and paired them in doubles, hoping that would help them fare better against the Titans. But San Marino countered with a winning partnership by pairing sophomore Vivian Le and junior Larissa Phillips.

Together, they swept doubles competition en route to the Rio Hondo League crown and helped the Titans reach the CIF Southern Section Division II semifinals in team competition. For their dominance this season, they were voted All-Area Girls' Doubles Team of the Year by the sports writers and editors of the Pasadena Sun, Glendale News-Press, Burbank Leader and La Cañada Valley Sun.

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"Vivian and Larissa were a fantastic team this year," San Marino Coach John Christopher said. "They were very determined. They were a fantastic combination of offense and defense. Larissa hit such a big ball and Vivian was just unbelievable. I'm really proud of them."

Le began the season third in the lineup behind Sarah Gealer, who won the league's singles championship, and Dorothy Tang, the runner-up. Phillips also started in singles, despite her interest in playing doubles.

But as the season progressed, the Titans' dominance — particularly in singles — forced opposing schools to rearrange their strategy. That's when the Le-Phillips pairing was born.

"I think the coaches saw that we worked well together," Phillips said. "I think we definitely do feed off each other's personality and get each other excited.

It's different being with a partner. Communication is key. But it also allowed me to feel a little more secure, knowing my partner can always lift me up."

Feeding off one another taught the two to work in unison.

Described as an "aggressive player" and "cheerleader" of sorts, Le helped pump up the more mild-mannered Phillips.

In turn, Phillips taught Le patience and working alongside a new partner.

"It was a tough transition because it was hard not having my sister there," Le said. "She was mentor and someone I could always count on.

"But, through this, I learned that it's really important to compromise and pump each other up — to have that energy on the court and reproduce it with every match. Sometimes it's hard to have that energy because we're coming after school and we're tired, but that's what helps push you through."

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