CdM graceful in defeat

Top-seeded Dana Hills wins Division I semi, terminating Sea Kings’ season with a loss for third consecutive year.

November 19, 2009|By Barry Faulkner

LAGUNA NIGUEL — It was, it seemed, odd to see so much laughter and so few tears coming from the Corona del Mar High girls’ tennis team’s post-match huddle.

The reverse is typically the case when a team laden with 13 seniors sees its season — thus, the prep careers of the impending graduates — terminated by a postseason loss.

Yet, after the No. 4-seeded Sea Kings fell to top-seeded Dana Hills, 11-7, in the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section Division I playoffs Thursday at the Laguna Niguel Tennis Club, smiles trumped sorrow for the vanquished visitors.


These Sea Kings (21-2) had clearly also mastered the art of losing gracefully, despite having such little practice.

“I think those seniors have lost six times in 86 matches the last four years,” said CdM Coach Brian Ricker.

The semifinal setback ended a run of three straight CIF Division I title-match appearances for the Sea Kings, who were defeated by Dana Hills (20-0) in the last two finals.

CdM won the crown in 2006.

“Dana is a great team,” Ricker said. “It has such good singles players and its doubles are well-coached.”

CdM’s senior tandem of Kelli Feeley and Azadeh Nazemi swept at No. 1 doubles, closing out a 38-set winning streak that began after they dropped the first set of the season to Campbell Hall.

Senior Melissa Matsuoka won two sets at No. 1 singles, while CdM’s other two doubles teams captured one set each.

“I guess it’s a compliment to our doubles that, when it seems like we were getting killed in doubles, we still won five of the nine sets,” said Ricker, who also dispensed praise for his departing seniors.

“It’s a great group of seniors,” Ricker said. “They are all wonderful girls and they try hard and their work ethic is outstanding. The reality is, most of those girls could start for 98% of the teams in Orange County. But, at CdM, they’re turned into cheerleaders. After the match, I was saying goodbye to the seniors from [Matsuoka] to [No. 2 singles standout Hailey Hogan, who along with Matsuoka won the Pacific Coast League doubles title and will continue in the section individual tournament that begins today], to the girls who don’t play that much. And one of the juniors, Jessica Beyer, started crying. I said ‘You’re not even a senior, what are you doing?’ So that was kind of funny.”

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