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CdM humbled on road

Despite Xepoleas' sweep, Sea Kings lose all nine doubles sets in lopsided loss at Peninsula Tuesday.

September 28, 2010|By Matt Szabo, matthew.szabo@latimes.com

ROLLING HILLS ESTATES — Brianna Kemp served an ace out wide, giving her and her younger sister, Kara, a set point Tuesday.

Kemp, the tall, left-handed junior, then ended the set with an ace down the middle. It was only the second go-round, but she also just about ended the match.

Peninsula was on its way to a surprisingly lopsided 13-5 upset of visiting Corona del Mar in the nonleague girls' tennis match. Kemp ended the suspense, putting her team up 9-3 headed into the final round.

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The way it was going, it was unlikely the Sea Kings could sweep the final round and send it to games. They would have been happy just to win a doubles set.

For the first time in Coach Brian Ricker's seven-year tenure, CdM was swept in doubles.

Ricker has been trying to figure out his team's doubles situation. In three of their six matches, the Sea Kings have lost a majority of the doubles sets.

He said last week he inserted two new doubles teams in the starting lineup, with seniors Morgan McVey and Erica Lewis, as well as juniors Caroline Larsen and Ariana Naaseh.

"We changed the strategy," Ricker said. "Really, we went back to what we've always done, which is high, heavy topspin. I put in girls who play that way. I felt like even though we lost every set [Tuesday], they got better in every set they played. I think they'll keep improving … That's four girls who haven't started before."

Senior Mackenzie Ludlow and sophomore Alison Ishii had the best chance of avoiding the doubles sweep for CdM (4-2), ranked No. 3 in the CIF Southern Section Division I coaches' poll. The Sea Kings' No. 1 team had a 6-5 lead on the Kemp sisters in the third go-round, but lost in a tiebreaker.

The Peninsula No. 1 doubles team of Victoria Tam and Brandea Bunnag, as well as the No. 2 team of Lauren Gutierrez and Sachi Carlson, also swept.

"We had some good sets," said Ishii, whose usual partner, freshman Lauren Thaxter, was out sick. "When it comes down to it, they're just good. There's nothing I can really say. They played their best really … We've got to stick together and keep fighting."

Senior Lynda Xepoleas easily won three sets at No. 1 singles for CdM, 6-1, 6-0, 6-0. Sophomore Nini Ugrelidze also won a pair of sets and senior Kalika Slevcove battled.

Slevcove, herself fighting sickness, was in the longest set of the first round but fell to Peninsula freshman Jasmine Hosseini, 7-5. That gave Peninsula (5-1) a 4-2 lead after round one.

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