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Tandem sparked CdM's rise

Seniors Slevcove and McVey had success once put together, helping Sea Kings reach Division I semifinals yet again.

November 19, 2010|By Matt Szabo, matthew.szabo@latimes.com
(Scott Smeltzer…)

One has a background in horseback riding, and one in sailing.

When Corona del Mar High seniors Kalika Slevcove and Morgan McVey started playing tennis four or five years ago, they relied on their good hand-eye coordination to help them out. Still, these aren't the girls who had a racket in their hands from the time they could walk.

"We're playing catch-up," Slevcove said.

But this year the opponents usually say the same thing.

Slevcove and McVey evolved into a reliable doubles team this year for the Sea Kings, whose season ended Thursday with a loss to top-seeded Campbell Hall in the CIF Southern Section Division I semifinals. Two days prior, Slevcove and McVey won two of three sets as CdM upset Peninsula, 12-6, to reach its 12th straight semifinal.

Slevcove and McVey, who had a 17-3 record prior to the Campbell Hall match, took different paths to this point. Slevcove's been riding a horse since before she can remember, which is what happens when you live up on a ranch on the edge of the Back Bay and your family owns multiple horses. She had her first horse show when she was just 18 months old.

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She also grew up playing volleyball like her father, Mark, who competed at UCLA. Kalika played club at Orange County Volleyball Club, but that ended when she was just 5-foot-2 as a freshman.

"I was too short to play volleyball," Slevcove said. "On our team, even the libero's like 6-foot."

Tennis was a quick fit for Slevcove. She was the top player on the frosh-soph team her freshman year and won the Pacific Coast League junior varsity singles title her sophomore year.

Right after that year, about two years ago now, was when McVey left the team to train at Advantage Tennis Academy in Irvine. She still went to school at CdM, but she spent three hours a day hitting at Advantage. Still, she came back to the team this year because she knew she didn't want to miss her senior year.

"Tennis is obviously an individual sport, but I like the team aspect of it," McVey said. "It's been a lot of fun to come back, but I think it was also good for me to take that [time] off."

Slevcove started the year in singles. She set herself up to play singles this year for CdM, working hard over the summer by playing in 13 tournaments. She said she made at least the semifinals in nearly every one.

"At the beginning of the summer, my dad said, 'If you want to go to the college of your choice, you better kick it up a notch,' " Slevcove said.

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