Staying focused was not a problem Tuesday, even as the lineup changed during the key Pacific Coast League match against Northwood.
Corona del Mar was solid throughout, winning 13-5, a must-win if the Sea Kings hope to make the CIF Southern Section Division I playoffs.
Northwood (11-3, 4-2 in league) came into the match in second place in league, but CdM (4-7, 3-3) moved closer. The Sea Kings also secured the league finish tiebreaker over the Timberwolves, since the victory was by a greater margin than Northwood's 10-8 win on Sept. 29.
Senior Ariana Naaseh and sophomore Kenzie Purcifull swept at No. 1 doubles for CdM, which is going through a rebuilding year but still improving.
"We've been working hard," Naaseh said. "We've been working more as a team, and I think we really are starting to get our groove on. Even though it's late in the season, we're coming out strong."
The Sea Kings led, 4-2, after the first round, losing the last set on as Northwood's Chloe Pham outlasted CdM's Lauren Thaxter, 6-3, in a battle of sophomores.
Thaxter, CdM's top returning player from last year, missed five weeks earlier this season. She said she has been diagnosed with atypical migraine headaches.
On Tuesday she was playing in her second match back on court, but the condition came up after the loss to Pham and she had to exit after that first set.
"I have a condition that I'm going to have to deal with for the rest of my life," Thaxter said. "I had them earlier today. It's just timing; it's all random. I'm on medication right now, but it won't settle in my blood system until the end of October or early November."
Thaxter stayed at the match. She wanted to come back in during the third round, but players can't re-enter. But she has stayed with a positive attitude during this difficult time.
"She's our inspirational leader and our singles leader," Ricker said. "When she shows up she's a double whammy, especially when we can get her in the lineup. It's a double-positive."