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Boys' Tennis: Sailors edge Sage

Newport Harbor displays aggressiveness to take down Lightning in eventful nonleague match.

March 12, 2014|By Matt Szabo

The reason why Newport Harbor High senior Eddie Nolan, a football player, decided to join the boys' tennis team was simple enough.

"It's good to be kept busy," Nolan said Tuesday at The Tennis Club Newport Beach, where the Sailors were playing Sage Hill. "Coach K [Kristen Case] is a great coach, too."

What Case's Sailors have this year is three great additions to the squad. Nolan, a linebacker and defensive end, and senior running back/safety Garrett Hall decided to take up tennis. So did former volleyball player Peirce Ward, who plays doubles with Hall.

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They are fun to be around, and they bring tons of energy for the Sailors whether they're in the lineup or not.

Newport football coach Jeff Brinkley would be proud. Call it smashmouth tennis.

"We kind of consider ourselves the Happy Gilmores of tennis," Nolan said with a straight face. "How he revolutionized golf, that's what we're trying to do for tennis."

Bob Barker was not at The Tennis Club on Tuesday. And Nolan and Hall, who helped the Newport football team reach the CIF Southern Section Southwest Division title game last fall, did not play in the tennis lineup. Yet, their energy helped the Sailors earn a 10-8 nonleague victory over the Lightning.

"I think it's great," said Newport Harbor junior Reese Stalder, who swept at No. 1 singles, 6-3, 6-0, 6-0, to remain undefeated this season. "They make everyone else play better, for sure. It kind of gives us a different swagger almost, where everyone's loud. They help the team whether they play or not."

The players who did play for the Sailors (3-0) also did plenty. They helped Newport Harbor rally from a 4-2 deficit after the first round, where the Lightning won all three doubles sets. Eric Magliarditi and Kenan Torlic, Han Chin and Gordon Strelow, as well as David Kim and Shayan Emtiaz, all won close sets for the hosts.

But Sailors freshman David Lee, who has stepped into the No. 2 singles spot occupied by his brother Christian last year, came up big in the second round. Lee outlasted Sage freshman Omeed Moini, 7-6 (7-5), to tie the match score at 6-6.

The Sailors huddled around to celebrate.

"Float like a butterfly, sting like a Lee," shouted Nolan, changing up Muhammad Ali's famous saying just a bit.

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