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Huntington Beach girls’ tennis loses to Woodbridge in tiebreakers

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Kaytlin Taylor of Huntington Beach runs down a volley in a nonleague home match against Woodbridge on Tuesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Players from the Huntington Beach High girls’ tennis team stood around the scoreboard in disbelief, many of them with their cell phones out and acting as calculators.

The Oilers’ nonleague home match against Woodbridge on Tuesday had just ended — or so they thought. They came to the realization that the teams were tied in both sets (9-9) and games (72-72).

The rarity had to be solved via tiebreakers. Each singles player and doubles team went back out on the courts to play against their counterparts from Woodbridge at the Nos. 1, 2 or 3 lines for a quick tiebreaker.

Woodbridge won four of the six tiebreakers to claim the victory. Only the Oilers’ Kaytlin Taylor at No. 1 singles and Solaya Han at No. 3 singles were able to earn wins over Maya Youssef and Karina Shah, respectively, both by 7-3 scores.

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Huntington Beach coach Suzanne DeVries said she was still happy with the progress of her team. Woodbridge (6-3) is ranked No. 5 in CIF Southern Section Division 2 and No. 8 in Orange County. Huntington Beach (6-3) is not ranked in Division 1 or the county.

“[The Warriors] were stronger than we thought, but we played well against them,” DeVries said. “It was a really good match for us. I’m really proud of the girls. I mean, you can’t get any closer than that, right? It was a great moment to end our preseason. We have one more match [against Alhambra Mark Keppel on Thursday] but it’s kind of a light match.

“This was a really strong way to end and get going into our [Sunset Conference] matches. We’re going to do well. We’re ready to go.”

Huntington Beach won its first CIF title in program history last year by claiming the Division 3 title. The Oilers were rewarded by being moved up to Division 1. While a similar run may seem unlikely in the new division, they have upper-level players who are tough to beat.

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Huntington Beach’s Cindy Huynh hits a strong forehand in a nonleague home match against Woodbridge on Tuesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Huntington Beach bolstered its team with the addition of Taylor, a junior left-hander who went to Pacific Coast High in Tustin last year. She joins with returning sophomores Cindy Huynh and Han to form a tough singles lineup.

The trio showed its potential against Woodbridge. Huntington Beach won seven singles sets, with Taylor sweeping 6-3, 6-0, 6-0. Huynh and Han also both beat Woodbridge’s Mikayla Riggs and Shah, losing only to Youssef.

Taylor earned an impressive 6-3 victory over Youssef, a sophomore, in the first round. Taylor was tight early against Youssef, double-faulting four times in her opening service game and eventually getting broken. But from 2-3 down, she won four straight games to secure the victory.

“That was a bit of a concern for me,” Taylor said with a laugh of the opening service game with the double faults. “I just try to figure out what I’m doing wrong and what I can do better, but sometimes it takes me a second to get to that point. It starts with a little frustration.”

The Oilers won just two doubles sets against Woodbridge. The No. 2 team of Maggie Rae Walker and Alissa Wong, as well as the No. 3 team of Lauren Le and Haley Forth, both beat the Warriors’ No. 2 tandem of Katie Park and Ilaria Covino.

Huntington Beach, however, could not hold leads of 4-2 after the first round and 7-5 after the second round.

Huntington Beach plays at Los Alamitos in a Sunset Conference crossover match on Sept. 24. The Wave League opener is Oct. 10 at rival Laguna Beach, the defending league champion that Huntington Beach beat 10-8 in the Division 3 title match last year at the Claremont Club.

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Huntington Beach’s Maggie Rae Walker volleys during a nonleague match with partner Alissa Wong against Woodbridge on Tuesday at home.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

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