Girls' Tennis: Sailors grab second

Everyone steps up for Newport Harbor, which earns emotional win at Edison to clinch second place in league.

October 24, 2013|By Matt Szabo

HUNTINGTON BEACH — It was a quiet moment Thursday afternoon, away from the action on court, but it said so much about the Newport Harbor High girls' tennis team.

No. 3 singles player Jenn Kingsley had just given Edison's top player, Libby Jubas, a run for her money before falling in a tiebreaker. Kingsley came off the court with tears in her eyes before she was approached by Newport senior co-captain Reagan Rutter.

As the rest of the Sailors huddled up, Rutter spent a couple of minutes talking to Kingsley, who has been battling sickness lately.


"It was tears of exhaustion and tears of happiness," Rutter said. "She just felt so good about how she's been playing. I was just there to pump her up and [say] 'You've got this, I'm so proud of you. Let's bring it the third round.'"

Moments like these mean the most to Newport Harbor Coach Kristen Case. But the end result from the match wasn't so bad, either.

The Sailors beat Edison on the road, 12-6, to clinch second place in the Sunset League for the second straight year. It was a sizable accomplishment for a team that returned just three starters from last year, and starts six sophomores. But, in a way, Rutter's time with Kingsley symbolized what the Sailors are really all about.

"They're just incredible girls," Case said. "We are so lucky to have this group of phenomenal young ladies. Their character, their selflessness, I have nothing but amazing things to say about them. The way they support one another is just amazing."

The Sailors' other co-captain, senior Kate Knight, also had a big day at No. 1 singles despite her own continuing battle with sickness. Despite clearly being at less than 100% physically, she won two of three sets, each 7-5, over the Chargers' Krista Hirtler and Emily Read.

Kingsley and No. 2 singles player Peyton Espley-Jones, both sophomores, each won a set. Even Kingsley's tiebreaker loss to Jubas was impressive. The first time the teams played on Oct. 8, Jubas had easily topped Kingsley, 6-1.

Newport Harbor (13-7, 7-2 in league) won that first match against Edison (6-3 in league) by an 11-7 count. The Sailors improved the result Thursday, winning four sets in every round. They did it behind a dominating effort in doubles, where they won eight of nine sets.

Sophomores Kendall Cosenza and Anna Burke easily swept at No. 1 doubles, 6-2, 6-1, 6-0. Burke said mental toughness was key, as Edison had a sizable group of student fans there at the start of the match.

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