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CdM back in good position

Girls' Tennis

Playoff chances upgraded, as Sea Kings earn victory against Northwood on the road.

September 25, 2012|By Matt Szabo

IRVINE — The chess match began before the tennis match Tuesday.

Corona del Mar High girls' tennis coach Brian Ricker and Northwood coach Eric Keith each wanted their top singles player to avoid the other team's best player in the opening round. So Ricker put junior Lauren Thaxter at No. 2 singles, and Keith put junior Chloe Pham at No. 2 singles as well.

Of course, the strategy doesn't work when both coaches are on the same page. Thaxter and Pham still played in the first round.

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Thaxter earned a tough victory over Pham. The CdM team win wasn't as tough by the end, as the Sea Kings pulled off a 13-5 victory at Northwood High in the important Pacific Coast League match.

Corona del Mar (6-3, 1-1 in league) perhaps established itself as the top contender for the No. 2 spot in league. The top three teams in the league are guaranteed CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoff berths; last year CdM finished fourth in league behind University, Woodbridge and Northwood and missed CIF for the first time in recent memory.

Thaxter, who missed the league opener against Uni due to sickness, earned a 6-4 win over Pham on Tuesday. Pham had defeated Thaxter in three tough sets last November in the PCL singles semifinals.

"To be honest, we're not used to Chloe losing," Keith said. "That's not something that happens very often, so when she loses, I think the team looks at that and gets a little disheartened. It's unfortunate that was the first round, because we just kind of spiraled a little bit from that point. You know, Lauren had a good strategy, she played well and had some good shots against Chloe. She deserved it, but it was hard for the team to see that and stay upbeat."

The Sea Kings definitely were upbeat after they put the Timberwolves (8-4, 1-1) in a tough position. Senior Olivia Dajee also earned a singles win in the first round. The doubles teams of Kenzie Purcifull and Siena Sharf, as well as Taylor Fogarty and Kimmia Naaseh, also were victorious as CdM took a 4-2 lead.

They increased their sets lead to 8-4 after two rounds, capped by Dajee's 6-4 win over Northwood sophomore Shreya Kumar. Both teams subbed in the third round.

"I thought it could be a really close match, because we weren't sure if Lauren would play or not," Dajee said. "But we're definitely better than last year. We had a lot of confidence going into this match."

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