Tars' turn to rule Bay

Girls' Tennis

Newport Harbor checks first goal off list, dominating CdM in first series win since 1999.

September 22, 2011|By Matt Szabo
(Kevin Chang / Daily…)

NEWPORT BEACH — One goal down for the Newport Harbor High girls' tennis team, two to go.

That one goal sure felt good to the Sailors on Thursday at their home courts.

The Battle of the Bay turned into more of a massacre early on. Nothing was going to stop Newport Harbor from beating rival Corona del Mar for the first time since 1999.

The Sailors opened up a 12-0 lead after two rounds and cruised, 15-3. Coach Kristen Case said the next two goals in the coming weeks are to win their fourth straight Sunset League title and the CIF Southern Section Division II championship.

Nobody could doubt the determination of Newport Harbor (5-1) in the opening round against CdM. Senior Blake Bakkila, sophomore Natalie Cernius and freshman Annie Radeva all "bageled" their opponents, 6-0. Doubles was only slightly more taxing, as the No. 1 team of senior twins Christina and Robin Young won, 6-2, as did the No. 2 team of senior Mindy Wheeler and junior Megan Bathen.


The No. 3 doubles team of senior Holly Hovnanian and junior Kaitlyn Cosenza earned another bagel, 6-0. The last set score was the same as the match score after the round, as it was clear who was the stronger team.

"Going into this match, I told them we couldn't be more ready," Case said. "It was just their time to go out and shine. You saw the first round — they showed up. All of their hard work and their dedication, and what I would call their championship character, just came out in full force today."

CdM had owned the Battle of the Bay after the teams resumed playing it in 2008. The last time Newport Harbor won the rivalry match 12 years ago, it was Case helping to lead the charge as a senior playing doubles with Jenny Meyer. The score was similar, 16-2.

After Thursday's victory she said she felt happiest for this year's seniors, a group that includes Bakkila, the Young sisters, Wheeler, Hovnanian and Cece Beck.

"I can remember what it felt like to experience something like this, and I'm just so happy that they get to experience this," Case said. "They deserve it."

Bakkila relished the moment. She stayed in all three rounds, collecting 6-0, 6-2 and 6-0 victories. The moment she said she'd been dreaming about since her freshman year had arrived.

"They've always had such a strong program," Bakkila said of the Sea Kings. "It's kind of an indescribable feeling to beat someone who everyone says is 'that' team. I feel like this match is definitely setting a tone for the rest of our season."

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