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Tennis seniors go out swinging

Sage Hill, Newport Harbor players reach third round at CIF Individuals.

November 19, 2012|By Matt Szabo
(Courtesy of Dave…)

CORONA DEL MAR — The first day of the CIF Southern Section Individuals girls' tennis tournament can be a long one.

Sage Hill School senior Liana Korber had to check in at Corona del Mar High at 7:30 a.m. Monday. The check-in time was 90 minutes later for doubles teams, including Korber's senior teammates Kimberly Brown and Lauren Hsu, as well as the Newport Harbor team of seniors Megan Bathen and Kaitlyn Cosenza.

But, at this tournament, a long day definitely is a good thing.

All Newport-Mesa representatives made it deep into the afternoon, advancing to the third round before falling. And, though there are no Newport-Mesa girls' players who advanced past the regional stage for the second straight year, all five of these seniors felt a sense of accomplishment in the tennis they played Monday.

Korber, the Academy League singles champion and league MVP, was making her first appearance at CIF Individuals. She made it worthwhile, dispatching Jessie Hamada of El Segundo, 6-1, 6-2, before outlasting Laura Huwe of Santa Margarita, 4-6, 7-5, 10-4, in a marathon match.

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Serving at 5-5 in the second set against Huwe, Korber saved four break points to hold serve. She then broke Huwe's serve at love to set up the deciding super-tiebreaker, where she surged ahead.

Korber would later fall in the third round to BYU-bound Tesoro senior Mayci Jones, 6-1, 6-2. Jones was the No. 2-seeded singles player at the CdM regional.

"It was actually kind of fun," Korber said of playing Jones. "She's so good, it didn't make me nervous at all. I lost the first couple of games pretty fast, because I was just dinking it back and she was just crushing it. Then I finally was just like, 'OK, I'm going to go for it and hit through my shots, fight back a little harder.' My goal was to get a game each set, and I got more than that, so I feel pretty good about that.

"This has been the most amazing season, especially personally. To finally make it into CIF Individuals rounded it out really well. It was a good way to end, with today. I won two rounds. I don't think I could have asked for a whole lot more."

Hsu and Brown, who were Lightning team captains this year along with Korber, also had a big day. They beat Chloe Mills and Rita Schrestha of Archer, 6-1, 6-0, before topping Alex Wartenberg and Sara Mijali of Capistrano Valley, 6-1, 6-4, in the second round. Mills is the daughter of former "Knots Landing" actress Donna Mills, who was in attendance at CdM.

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