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Sailors deliver upset

Newport Harbor opens CIF Southern Section Division I playoffs with big win at Dana Hills.

May 13, 2010|By Matt Szabo

DANA POINT — A key opportunity came and went Wednesday, but Craig McKennon and Greg Brostek simply had no time to get down.

Everyone watched the last set of the match still on court, and Newport Harbor High's No. 2 doubles team had just been broken while serving for that set the Sailors so desperately needed.

No worries. McKennon and Brostek have been partners for three years now, and the juniors came up huge.

"It was an adventure," McKennon said. "We expected to win [that game], but we knew we had to make up for it."

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They immediately did, breaking back the Dana Hills team before Brostek served it out, helping seal Newport Harbor's 10-8 upset road win in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division I playoffs.

"I loved that ending," said Sailors Coach Kristen Case, whose team will play host to Woodbridge Friday in the second round. "Craig and Greg work extremely hard and they never give up when they play. I knew they were going to pull it out. I have so much confidence in those two."

After a performance like Wednesday, Case can justifiably have confidence in her entire team. Everyone in singles and doubles won at least one set as Newport (12-7) shocked Dana Hills (14-3), which was ranked No. 7 in the final Division I poll. Prior to Wednesday, Dana Hills' only two losses had been to the top two teams in Orange County, University and Corona del Mar.

Newport Harbor had lost in the first round of CIF each of the last two years under Case, now in her third year. But Wednesday, McKennon and Brostek won two sets.

They had to win that last one, as the Tars would have lost if the match had gone to game count. As it was, the host Dolphins won more games, 86-80.

"It was thrilling, invigorating," Brostek said. "It was an adrenaline rush. I liked that it was up to us."

The No. 1 doubles team, the Sunset League championship team of Jason Cernius and Troy Arnold, also won a pair of sets In singles, No. 1 Tracy Beblie, a junior, and No. 3 Thomas Yamamoto, a senior, each won a pair of sets.

Yamamoto's tiebreaker victory over Dana Hills' Connor Corley helped Newport Harbor to a 4-2 lead after the first go-round. For the match, the Sailors won three of four tiebreaker sets.

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