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Sea Kings squeak past Troy to win tourney

GIRLS' TENNIS: Corona del Mar edges Troy, 5-4, in the championship match and beats Dana Hills in semis Saturday.

October 15, 2006|By Tom Sheridan

NEWPORT BEACH — Corona del Mar High needed Melissa Matsuoka to forget the past.

She had lost in singles in the semifinals of the CdM Girls Tennis All-American Tournament, but in the finals against Troy, there was no room for regret. And, so with that Matsuoka bounced back from her semifinal loss, breaking the serve of Samantha Nadres to win the match, 8-5, and clinched the title for the Sea Kings at the Balboa Bay Racquet Club on Saturday.

CdM, which ran up an impressive 25-2 record on the way to the finals, defeated Troy, 5-4. With such a gaudy record, the Sea Kings weren't totally expecting such a nail-biter.

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"Melissa really stepped up for us," Corona del Mar Coach Brian Ricker said. "That was a big win."

Needing five matches to clinch the Corona del Mar All-American Tournament title, the Sea Kings found themselves in an unusual position: up 4-3 with only two matches remaining.

An early 8-2 upset of CdM's No. 1 doubles team — Jill Damion and Cierra Gaytan-Leach — made the 8-7, tiebreaker victory by Hailey Hogan and Matsuoka a must-have win. The team of Hayley and Miranda Young also won their match, putting the Sea Kings on top of Troy 2-1 heading into the singles matches.

Unable to find her rhythm, Damion lost her match to Alison Ramos, knotting the score at 2-2.

With the pressure now on Gaytan-Leach, she stayed cool and found her stride. She cruised to an 8-4 victory by pounding forehand after forehand past Troy's No. 2 player Frances Tseng.

The CdM sophomore capitalized on her service game by relentlessly charging the net. The win put Corona del Mar on top 3-2.

Gaytan-Leach is no stranger to winning championships. She's also part of the Sea Kings girls' golf team. Earlier in the week, she contributed to CdM's clinching of the Pacific Coast League title. Both the Sea Kings girls golf and tennis teams are undefeated.

Miranda Young's 8-0 victory over Erica Liao put the Sea Kings one win away from capturing the title.

"I'm very impressed with the way everyone played," Damion said. "Everyone did their best and tried their hardest. I'm really happy about the championship."

The victory over Troy was twice as sweet because CdM's "White Team" had lost to them in the first round of the.

Corona Del Mar's "White Team" rebounded from its 6-3 loss to Troy as they quickly knocked off Sage Hill 8-1, La Costa Canyon, 7-2 and beat Beverly Hills to win the consolation bracket.

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