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Girls' Tennis: CdM's Thaxter fights to end

Sea Kings junior continues to battle, but loses in three sets in league semifinals. Purcifull, Gerdau also finish fourth in doubles.

October 24, 2012|By Matt Szabo

CORONA DEL MAR — Lauren Thaxter went through various phases Wednesday afternoon on the Corona del Mar High tennis courts.

The No. 3-seeded CdM junior started strong at the Pacific Coast League finals, winning the first set of her semifinal match against No. 2-seeded Yuki Asami of University.

Then her atypical migraine headaches kicked in. Thaxter had an "aura," a precursor to a seizure that sapped her energy and speed.

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Coach Brian Ricker wanted her to default the match. Midway through the second set, she vomited into a trash can on the side of the court.

As is her nature, Thaxter never stopped fighting.

But in the end, it was Asami that was able to earn a 4-6, 6-0, 6-1 victory, knocking Thaxter out of the tournament in the semifinals for the second straight year. She was again a match shy of qualifying for CIF Individuals, and it was hard for her to take after the marathon match that lasted nearly three hours.

"I really wanted it this year, for my team and for myself," Thaxter said, fighting back tears. "But I tried my hardest, so there's nothing more I could ask for."

Thaxter did default the third-place match.

CdM's doubles team of Kenzie Purcifull and Riley Gerdau also lost in the semifinals, 6-3, 6-1, to the eventual champions, Shannon Theisen and Danielle Pham of University. Purcifull and Gerdau then lost the third-place match, 8-0, to another team from Uni.

For the second straight year CdM will have no representatives at CIF Individuals, which begin Nov. 19. It certainly wasn't due to a lack of willpower from Thaxter.

It has been another up-and-down year for her, due to her condition. She played in just six of 10 league matches for CdM, which finished second in league.

But at league finals, the way she competed surprised no one.

"It's interesting to watch the way she fights when these happen, the way she's willing to change her game and try different things," Ricker said. "That's just a fighter's instinct that you don't see in very many kids. She's not wanting to quit, but she's continually trying new strategies to see if something else will work ... She's just an unbelievable competitor."

Against Asami, Thaxter used her powerful backhand and aggressive forehand shots to take the first set.

But late in the set, she started hitting looping "moonballs" after she felt her strength leave her body.

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