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Sailors step up for title

Girls’ Tennis

Newport Harbor rallies in singles, stunning Sage Hill and winning Lightning Invitational for second straight year.

September 08, 2012|By Matt Szabo

NEWPORT BEACH — Working together has never been a problem for the Newport Harbor High girls' tennis team.

"Teamwork makes the dream work," is the motto on the Sailors' bracelets this year.

Five Newport Harbor seniors helped make their dreams come true Saturday at The Tennis Club Newport Beach. Megan Bathen, Kaitlyn Cosenza, McKenna Johnson, Kelsey Christensen and Lexi DeSantis each delivered big performances to make sure the Lightning Invitational title stayed with the Sailors.

Newport Harbor won the five-team tournament, hosted by Sage Hill, for the second straight year, finishing undefeated in the round-robin format. The key win was when the Sailors won four singles sets Saturday, including the final tiebreaker victory from Bathen, to finish a 5-4 come-from-behind victory over the Lightning.

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"Our senior leadership for this team is so important, and all of them stepped up when called upon," Newport Harbor Coach Kristen Case said. "All of them were called to rise at that point, and they got the job done. I thought that was so symbolic of just the role they've taken on this season. And Lexi did the same on the doubles court today."

It definitely wasn't easy. Newport Harbor had lost three of four doubles sets to Sage Hill on Friday. When the teams met to complete the singles portion of their match Saturday, Sage Hill needed to win just two of five sets to clinch the win. The Sailors went with a singles lineup of junior Kate Knight at No. 1 singles, followed by four seniors.

Lightning senior Liana Korber, who was undefeated on the weekend and voted the tournament's singles MVP, defeated Knight, 6-3, at No. 1 singles. The Lightning went up, 4-1 in the match, needing just one more set to claim the tournament title.

Sage never got it. Johnson defeated Sage senior Lauren Hsu, 6-1. at No. 2 singles. Christensen defeated Sage freshman Celine Wang at No. 5 singles by the same score.

Bathen and Cosenza, who normally play together on Newport Harbor's No. 1 doubles team, were left playing on adjacent singles courts. First Cosenza topped Sage sophomore Amira Tarsadia, 6-2, to tie the match score at 4.

Sage senior Kimberly Brown twice served for the set against Bathen, but Bathen broke serve both times. Bathen, who took the ACT test Saturday morning, also passed the test in the ensuing tiebreaker. She took control early and finished off the set, 7-6 (7-3), all-but clinching the title for the Sailors.

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