Pinole Valley High junior Stephanie Lin says she likes to hit the tennis ball hard and often.
It showed on Wednesday, as Lin notched a 6-2, 6-2 win over Brooke Irish of Amador Valley in the championship match of the North Coast Section Division I girls singles tournament at James Logan.
Lin, the No. 1 seed, became Pinole Valley's first section tennis champion, male or female.
"I got really excited throughout the match because this is the first time I'd gone to the finals," said Lin, who bowed out in the second round last year.
Much of the afternoon drama occurred in the doubles championship match.
Monte Vista's junior duo of Kaitlyn Haithcock and Betsy Main rallied from a 5-1 deficit in the second set but still fell 6-2, 7-6 (4) to Liza Brusman and Lani Tice of Tamalpais-Mill Valley.
"We never gave up. We tried to talk our way through each point," Haithcock said of the comeback.
In the semifinals Haithcock and Main rallied to upset No. 1 seed Taylor Hoppe and Jessica Chen of Foothill 3-6, 6-0, 6-4. The Mustangs turned up the heat in the second set.
"We had to be super aggressive at the net and poach any time we could, and hit at the feet," Main said.
The Foothill duo rebounded to defeat Campolindo's Natalie Korich and Miranda Hill in the third-place match 2-6, 6-1, 7-5.
Irish, the runner-up in 2009, credited Lin with playing a good match and said she felt "off." Irish beat Dougherty Valley sophomore Rickimae Torres 6-3, 6-1 in the semifinals. Lin had a taxing 6-3, 7-5 semifinal win over Albany freshman Allison Chuang.
In the NCS Division II finals at Fortuna High, Adrienne Sturgis of St. Patrick-St. Vincent defeated Bishop O'Dowd's Jenny Budd 6-4, 6-1 in the singles championship, and Ashley Shuster and Aubrey Douglass of Piedmont beat Tara Singh and Sammy Moores of International-San Francisco 6-1, 6-2. It's the second straight NCS Division II title for Shuster and Douglass.
Foothill d. Monte Vista: The host Falcons lost the first game and fell behind by six points in the second game before they rallied for a 24-26, 25-21, 25-13, 25-20 win over the Mustangs in a NCS Division I semifinal.
"Nothing significant changed, we just stopped giving away free points," Foothill coach Dusty Collins said. "After they came back first game, we know it didn't matter how far down we were in the second game, we just couldn't give away any more free points."
Senior Aria Crawford, after having just two kills in the first two games, came alive with 11 kills over the last two games as the Falcons (29-8) started to pull away.
Monte Vista (22-15) was seeking its first appearance in an NCS title match. Instead, Foothill will host San Ramon Valley in Saturday's final. The Wolves (33-8) advanced with a 25-19, 25-18, 26-24 over Heritage (24-14).
"It's probably fitting," Collins said of playing San Ramon Valley. "We were co-champs in a very competitive league, we're the top two seeds and we split in league."
In another semifinal match Wednesday, third-seeded Albany defeated No. 2 Campolindo 21-25, 25-14, 25-19, 25-17 to advance to the Division III championship. It's the first time Albany (32-6) has advanced to the section title game since 2002, when it was in Division IV.
Albany will host Sir Francis Drake-San Anselmo in Saturday's final. Campolindo (20-11) was the defending Division III state champion.
-- Matt Smith, correspondent
Clayton Valley: Herc Pardi has been hired as the Eagles' new varsity baseball coach. Pardi, who is in his 16th season as Clayton Valley's football coach, served as the Eagles' pitching coach in 2003 and from 2009-2011. Pardi was also Mt. Diablo's head coach in 1982 and Pittsburg's coach from 1989-1995.
Monte Vista softball player Shannon Low has signed a letter of intent with Saint Mary's. Low was a second-team All-East Bay Athletic League selection in 2011. Also, Newark Memorial wrestler Jake Smith has signed with Appalachian State.