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Girls' Tennis: Thaxter battles to end

CdM senior deals with atypical migraines, falls to Pham in PCL semifinals. Purcifull, Naaseh also lose in semis.

October 30, 2013|By Matt Szabo

IRVINE — Corona del Mar High senior Lauren Thaxter is one of the strongest-willed people you'll ever meet.

If you haven't met Thaxter, just know that one moment Wednesday afternoon she was kneeled over in the corner of a tennis court at Beckman High, vomiting.

Minutes later, she was back on court, zapped of energy but doing everything she could to beat Northwood senior Chloe Pham in a Pacific Coast League tournament semifinal match.

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Thaxter, who has suffered from atypical migraine headaches and "auras" (precursors to seizures) since she was a sophomore, never gives up. Once the match has started, she isn't coming off court until the final result has been determined.

"Since she's had this, I've told her that I wanted her to default at least 20 times," CdM Coach Brian Ricker said. "She's said no every single time ... She won't come out, period. You see, she's throwing up, she's wobbling, she's obviously not 100%. But it's just not in her nature to come out of a match, which is good ... In her mind, it's 'What can I change? It's not over.' That's just her nature. She's definitely the best fighter I've ever had."

Her resolve impressed those who watched her match with Pham. The final result did not go her way, as Pham won, 6-2, 6-3. The top-seeded Thaxter lost in the league semifinals for the third straight year, again falling one match short of reaching the CIF Individuals tournament.

So did seniors Kenzie Purcifull and Kimmia Naaseh, who fell to top-seeded Danielle Pham and Yuki Asami of University, 6-1, 6-2, in a doubles semifinal match. Purcifull and Naaseh then fell to Sarah Mae Garcia and Judy Kam, 8-5, in the third-place match.

For Thaxter, the final result was disappointing, but the way she got there was impressive.

"I just didn't want to give up," Thaxter said after the match. "I just didn't have as much stamina as I needed to, because I was sick. If the game goes to deuce, usually my stamina pulls me through. But [Pham] is a great player. She just pulled through on the important points.

"It was just a bad day," Thaxter added. "Unlucky."

Pham, who also beat Thaxter in the semifinals two years ago, won several long games early in the first set before winning it, 6-2. Thaxter had her episode down, 3-0, in the second set, taking a 10-minute medical timeout. She eventually fell behind 5-0.

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