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Girls' Tennis: Los Al stays on top

Griffins sweep Newport Harbor in singles, earning dominant win in battle of Sunset League powers.

October 15, 2013|By Matt Szabo
(SCOTT SMELTZER…)

Coach Kristen Case makes sure that her players rarely leave a Newport Harbor High girls' tennis match without a smile on their face.

This was provided Tuesday, as the Sailors sang "Happy Birthday" to their teammate Claudia Davis, a junior who was turning 17. They ate cookies to celebrate.

In terms of tennis, there simply wasn't too much to say. Visiting Los Alamitos got almost as many sets as Davis now has years.

The Griffins posted a dominant 16-2 victory, their second Sunset League victory over the Sailors this season. Los Alamitos (6-1, 6-0 in league) appears headed to its second straight outright league title, while Newport Harbor (10-8, 4-2) stays in second place.

"We went out there fighting, but I don't think we played maybe as strong as we could have," said Newport senior co-captain Reagan Rutter, who won one set at No. 2 doubles with her junior partner Annie LaGrandeur. "I mean, they're obviously a very, very good team. I still think we gave it our all and we put our hearts out there … we played good tennis today, but not great tennis, and I think great tennis is what we needed to bring out here for a team like this. Kudos to Los Al, because they have a really, really, really strong team this year."

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The Sailors had lost to the Griffins, 14-4, in the league opener Sept. 26 on the road, but six of those set losses were by 6-4 or closer. That gave Newport Harbor optimism for Tuesday's second meeting of the year, and the Sailors played well in the first round.

They were down, 5-1, after the round, but it easily could have been 3-3. But Los Al's Catt MacEachern and Karoline Pintar rallied to top Rutter and LaGrandeur, 6-4, and Los Al's Hope Hairrell topped the Sailors' Jenn Kingsley by the same score at No. 3 singles.

Los Alamitos went on to win all six sets in the second round, taking an 11-1 lead and clinching the match.

"With the way the rounds are set up in high school tennis, momentum definitely plays a big role," Case said. "When you can get a 3-3 split in the first round versus a 1-5, that definitely changes the dynamics. It was just reminiscent of our last match with them. It was that one little break that we were away from, but again you have to highlight the fact that our first round was very strong on all courts. I feel that every girl was on a mission. They were ridiculously focused, they had great energy and they played good tennis."

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