Looking like a champion

Newport Harbor sweeps in doubles, advances to CIF title match for first time in nine years.

November 19, 2010|By Matt Szabo,
(Kent Treptow / Daily…)

NEWPORT BEACH — None of the members of the Newport Harbor High girls' tennis team could remember a crowd this big.

Fans, other student-athletes and parents packed the corridor between the singles and doubles courts Thursday. Others chose to watch from near the locker rooms on the south side of the courts.

Midway through the second round, the Sailors' varsity football team walked by after their practice at Davidson Field.

"Stay focused, girls," Newport Harbor Coach Kristen Case said, knowing that it wouldn't be an issue.

Not with this team.

The Sailors have been focused all year. Now, they are one match away from history.

Newport Harbor swept in doubles and beat Arcadia, 13-5, in the CIF Southern Section Division II semifinal match on Thursday. The top-seeded Sailors will play San Marino in the final at 11:30 a.m. Monday at The Claremont Club.

San Marino won on games at Santa Barbara in the other Division II semifinal.


The team aspect that the Sailors have embraced all year long has led them to Newport Harbor's first CIF final appearance since 2001 and their sixth overall. Newport has never won a CIF team title in girls' tennis.

"With this group, every single day in practice, everyone's focusing on what we can do for each other," senior captain Lauren Conway said. "Practicing over the summer and through the season, we've all learned to trust each other. In tennis we're all on different courts. I'm over there, but I trust that on the first court, Ricki [Archie] and Christina [Young] are putting in everything they can. We've built that trust and we're all so close. We just believe in each other."

Newport Harbor (21-2), which has won 14 straight matches, started strong against visiting Arcadia. The Tars wanted to avenge a second-round loss at Arcadia last year.

The doubles teams of Archie and Young, Mindy Wheeler and Megan Bathen, as well as seniors Alex Aiello and Riley Mathies, swept their nine sets. It was their second sweep in the last three playoff matches.

Newport Harbor was on its way after the first round, which ended with the hosts up, 5-1. Not only did they win all three doubles sets, but they also won two of three singles sets. Conway came back from a deficit to outlast Arcadia's Hazel Limfat, 6-4, at No. 3 singles. And, in the last set completed in that first round, freshman Natalie Cernius beat Arcadia's Nadia Pacheco, also 6-4, at No. 2 singles.

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