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Laguna Beach’s Ella Pachl and Sarah MacCallum advance to CIF Individuals girls’ tennis doubles semifinals

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Laguna Beach doubles players Sarah MacCallum, left, and Ella Pachl compete in the CIF Southern Section Individuals tournament round of 16 match on Thursday at Lakewood Tennis Center.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Before local high school girls’ tennis players prepared to play in the CIF Southern Section Individuals singles and doubles tournaments Thursday, they first had to deal with wet courts at Seal Beach Tennis Center.

Players had to check in at 10:30 a.m. Three hours later, only half of the courts there were deemed suitable for play.

CIF officials announced that some round of 16 matches would be held there, but some players would have to drive to Lakewood Tennis Center to compete. This made a long day even longer.

Laguna Beach senior Ella Pachl and sophomore Sarah MacCallum had one match at each venue, but they handled the adversity well. They won twice to become the lone locals to advance to Friday’s semifinals.

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Pachl and MacCallum, who are unseeded, will play top-seeded Mya Wang and Emily Markus of University in one doubles semifinal at 9 a.m. at Seal Beach Tennis Center. Koko Makrygiannis and Cydney Yamamoto of Rolling Hill Estates Peninsula will play Victoria Aguirre and Kiki Nguyen of Beckman in the other semifinal. The final will follow later Friday.

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Laguna Beach’s Ella Pachl scores at the net as partner Sarah MacCallum, right, looks on in the CIF Southern Section Individuals tournament round of 16 doubles match on Thursday at Lakewood Tennis Center.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Pachl and MacCallum did not lose a set Thursday, but they had to work to make that statement correct. The Wave League champions beat No. 4-seeded Kacey Feng and Sydney Vo of Mira Costa 6-3, 6-4 in the round of 16 at Lakewood. In the quarterfinals back in Seal Beach, they saved three set points in the second set of a 6-0, 7-6 (0) win over Bailey Smolinski and Milana Molnar of San Juan Hills under the lights.

“We had a little slip,” said Pachl of the quarterfinal match, where the Breakers duo nearly squandered a 6-0, 4-1 lead. “It’s OK ... We went into the tiebreaker trying to cut back our errors. Let them make a mistake or hit a big ball. If they hit a winner, they hit a winner.

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“It’s nice [to make the semifinals]. It’s my last year.”

Marina freshman Mika Ikemori bowed out in the singles quarterfinals. After outlasting Erika Ekstrand of Studio City Harvard-Westlake 6-1, 6-7, 10-7 in the round of 16, Ikemori fell to top-seeded Anessa Lee of San Marino 6-1, 6-1.

“I thought I was playing well, but she’s a little more well-rounded,” Ikemori said. “She’s got really good precision, and she’s really aggressive. I’m OK, though. I thought I played well.”

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Marina’s Mika Ikemori competes in the CIF Southern Section Individuals tournament round of 16 singles match on Thursday at Seal Beach Tennis Center.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Newport Beach resident Natasha Hill, a senior at Mater Dei, also lost in the quarterfinals. Hill and partner Natalie Lynch beat Jenna Yeam and Julian Torcaso of San Clemente 1-6, 7-6, 10-3 in the round of 16 before losing to Wang and Markus 6-1, 6-2 in the quarterfinals.

Hill finished her high school career as a four-time Trinity League doubles champion. This was her longest run at CIF Individuals.

Other locals lost in the round of 16 at CIF Individuals. Huntington Beach junior Kaytlin Taylor fell to No. 4-seeded Jordyn McBride of West Ranch 6-0, 6-4 in a singles match.

Taylor, the Wave League champion, took a 2-0 lead in the second set after quickly dropping the first. But she was unable to hold it and secure the upset win.

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“The second set, I really tried to be more steady and take my level down a notch,” Taylor said. “Everything felt like it was flying a bit. I tried to slow down the match a little, sort of change it up a bit I guess.”

In doubles, Surf League champions Reece Kenerson and Jane Paulsen of Corona del Mar lost 6-1, 4-6, 10-7 to the Beckman duo of Aguirre and Nguyen.

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Corona del Mar’s Reece Kenerson, left, and Jane Paulsen compete in the CIF Southern Section Individuals tournament round of 16 doubles match on Thursday at Lakewood Tennis Center.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

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