Laguna Beach has Orange County bragging rights, for now, after the top-ranked Artists' defeated No. 2 Newport Harbor, 11-7, in girls' tennis Tuesday at Newport Harbor High School.
The Artists, ranked No. 1 in Division II, rolled over the Sailors in the first round, taking a 5-1 lead. Laguna Beach (6-1) swept its doubles in the round and suffered its only loss when Sarah Hawkins defeated Lindsay Weiss, 6-0, in singles.
"The doubles were huge," Artist Coach Bob Walton said. "The first round was the key. There was no way I thought we'd sweep."
Aiming for their third consecutive Southern Section Division II title, the Artists looked strong in doubles and singles.
Amanda Hastings-Phillips led the way, sweeping her first two singles sets, 6-0, 6-1, before scoring a 6-4 victory over Hawkins. A senior, Hawkins usually plays in the No. 1 spot for Newport Harbor (2-1), but moved to the No. 3 position so she could get some extra warm-up time. She won her other set 6-1.
At No. 1 doubles, Sarah Cohen and Vanessa Zajfen took two of three, 6-4, 2-6, 6-1, losing to the the Sailors' sophomore team of Katie Canright and Emily Barker.
Zajfen, disappointed by her play, cracked the books between sets. After Zajfen got some homework done, she and Cohen defeated Katie Hawkins and Brooke Taylor, 6-1.
After the match Walton was all smiles. "I'm glad we aren't Division I," he said. "Now we can go back and play Division II."