Sailors on to semis

Newport Harbor sweeps in singles to trounce host Valencia in CIF Division II quarterfinal Tuesday.

November 16, 2010|By Barry Faulkner,

PLACENTIA — The Newport Harbor High girls' tennis team is not allowing its No. 1 seeding, some nagging injuries, nor its lack of CIF Southern Section championship history to serve as a distraction as it steams toward the culmination of a season that has, thus far, been storybook. But the Sailors gave new meaning to the term single-minded focus in their 16-2 victory at Valencia on Tuesday in the CIF Division II quarterfinals.

Coach Kristin Case's Tars (20-2), who have relied heavily on their strong doubles lineup all fall, won all nine singles sets to dominate the Tigers (16-4).

The win propelled the three-time-defending Sunset League champions into Thursday's semifinals against Arcadia, which won at No. 4-seeded Diamond Bar, 11-7, Tuesday. Thursday's clash, a rematch of a second-round playoff match won by Arcadia last season, is at 2 p.m. at Newport Harbor.


Senior Lauren Conway, playing at No. 3 singles, and freshman Natalie Cernius, playing No. 2, both swept three sets for the winners.

No. 1 singles player Blake Bakkila won two sets, before giving way to Kelsey Christensen, who won her only set to round out the visitors' perfect singles slate.

Cernius, the Sunset League singles runner-up, won 18 of 19 games, while Conway had two 6-0 romps to go with a 6-4 win over Valencia's No. 1 player, Prayerna Uppal.

Newport Harbor swept at No. 2 doubles, with Megan Bathen teaming with Mindy Wheeler in the first two sets, then pairing with Holly Hovnanian to win a third set.

The No. 3 doubles duo of seniors Alex Aiello and Riley Mathies won two of three sets for the Sailors, who received set triumphs from Sunset League doubles champions

Ricki Archie and Christina Young, as well as the substitute combination of Robin Young and Kaitlyn Cosenza.

It was a rare loss for Archie and Christina Young, who fell, 6-2, to Valencia's No. 1 duo of Amelia Yates and Felicia Hsu.

"[Archie and Christina Young] have been incredible this year," Case said of her No. 1 junior duo that had a 42-2 record heading into the CIF playoffs. "You're going to lose a set once in a while. I'm proud of how they bounced back from that. Sometimes, if you are on a long winning streak and you lose, you have a meltdown, and they didn't. They accepted it, moved on and dominated the next set [6-3].

Case also said she was gratified by the play of the rest of her lineup.

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