The Sunny Hills girls’ tennis team is living dangerously, but the Lancers are living right. They pulled out their second consecutive playoff match on games, beating Cypress, 77-71, to advance to the Southern Section Division II quarterfinals.
“Had it all the way,” Sunny Hills Coach Steve White joked after watching the three-hour 10-minute marathon that ended in darkness. “This would have been a heartbreak for either of these teams.”
Sunny Hills (14-4), which beat Santa Barbara San Marcos on games (76-72) in the first round, trailed Cypress all day. After two rounds, the Lancers were down, 7-5, and with two sets on court, they trailed, 9-7.
But Sunny Hills’ No. 1 doubles team of Kris Murakawa and Lindsay Florin beat Lisa Fukada and Jenna Black, 6-3, to make it 9-8. Then Sami Daily and Katie Williams defeated Cherise Van Smaalen and Gunjan Nanda, 7-6 (8-6) after blowing a 5-2 lead in the set.
“I’m proud of our doubles teams,” White said. “They stepped up for the victory. As a coach, it’s nice to see that.”
By the time Nanda double-faulted to end the set against Daily and Williams, it was hard to see much of anything. The balls, blackened by the dusty courts, were nearly the same color as the sky.
“We’re so used to the courts, I don’t think that bothered us at all,” Cypress Coach Carrie Vaughn said.
What bothered Cypress (16-4) most was the play of Sunny Hills’ singles players Patti Kangwankig, Iris Yuan and Joanna Koa, who each won two of three sets.
The match wouldn’t have come down to games if not for the sparkling play of Cypress’ No. 1 singles player Samantha Waller, who swept her three sets to improve to 53-0 in her freshman season. Waller, the Empire League singles champion, beat Kao, the Freeway League champion, 6-4, and Yuan, the Freeway League runner-up, 6-3.
“I’m very satisfied with the way we played today,” Vaughn said. “This is the toughest we’ve played in a few weeks. This is furthest the Cypress girls have ever gone in the playoffs. I think we made Sunny Hills work a little bit.”
Sunny Hills will host third-seeded Beverly Hills Tuesday.