The Huntington Beach and Laguna Beach high school girls’ tennis teams met three times last season.
The Oilers and Breakers split their two Wave League meetings, with Laguna Beach ultimately winning the league title. Both teams then went on runs through the CIF Southern Section Division 3 playoffs, only to meet in the title match at the Claremont Club.
Huntington Beach won the rubber match 10-8, winning the first girls’ or boys’ tennis CIF championship in program history.
A rematch is impossible this postseason, as Huntington Beach moved up to Division 1 and Laguna Beach to Division 2. But the Wave League race should again be compelling between the Oilers and Breakers, as well as Edison and Marina.
Huntington Beach brings back sophomores Cindy Huynh and Solaya Han to its singles lineup, coach Suzanne DeVries said. The newcomer is talented junior Kaytlin Taylor, who had previously been home-schooled.
DeVries said that Taylor has an Universal Tennis Rating of 9, which would make her the highest-ranked player on the team. Doubles returners for the Oilers include Haley Forth, Alissa Wong and Maggie Rae Walker.
“Our singles line is stronger [and] doubles will need to prove themselves,” DeVries said.
Laguna Beach also should again be competitive, with returners like senior Ella Pachl and sophomore Sarah MacCallum, who was last year’s league singles champion. Freshman Kaytlin Smith is a key addition for the Breakers, who are also strong in doubles with senior Vanessa Gee and junior Faith Ackley at the No. 1 spot and sophomores Camille Deckey and Ainsley Beresford at No. 2.
The Oilers and Breakers’ league meetings are Oct. 10 at Laguna Beach and Oct. 22 at Huntington Beach.
“I think we’re probably favored to be top two in league,” Conkey said.
Edison was the odd team out of the postseason after finishing third in the league last year, yet the Chargers return a talented squad led by senior Zoe Coggins. Marina struggled to compete last year but boasts a very talented freshman tournament player in Mika Ikemori.
Ikemori advanced to the girls’ 14s quarterfinals at the USTA Southern California Junior Sectional Championships in June. She will pair with junior Makenna Livingston, a Wave League singles semifinalist last year, to lead the Vikings.
Corona del Mar advanced to the Open Division semifinals last year. The Sea Kings appear down compared to past seasons, but are considerable favorites to repeat as Surf League champions. Juniors Reece Kenerson and Hannah Jervis are key players for the Sea Kings.
Newport Harbor is led by returners Amra Barton, a senior doubles player who is a four-year varsity player, and senior doubles players Riley DeCinces and Avery Wooden. The Sailors’ four losses through last week were all by scores of 9-9 or 10-8.
Fountain Valley will struggle in the Surf League this year, coach Harshul Patel said, as the Barons are down on talent. Sophomore Nghi Trinh, junior Kaylee Tran and sophomore Emily Tran are leaders.
Sage Hill is led by its senior co-captains Karina Grover and Miya Stauss, who both play singles, as well as Maddie Dao in doubles. Coach Whit Kenerson said doubles is a strength for the Lightning, who have won four straight league titles but may be pushed in the San Joaquin League this season by rival St. Margaret’s.
Costa Mesa is the defending Orange Coast League champion and it plays rival Estancia twice in league play, Sept. 26 at Costa Mesa and Oct. 15 at Estancia. The Eagles finished third in the league last year, losing both matches against Costa Mesa by a score of 16-2.
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