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Laguna Beach duo advances to CIF Individuals girls’ tennis doubles final, which is postponed due to rain

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Laguna Beach’s Ella Pachl, right, and Sarah MacCallum compete in the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section Individuals doubles tournament on Friday at Seal Beach Tennis Center.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Laguna Beach High senior Ella Pachl and sophomore Sarah MacCallum tried to be patient as they waited for three hours Friday for the CIF Southern Section Individuals girls’ tennis doubles title match to start.

They finished off a 6-3, 6-0 semifinal upset win over top-seeded Mya Wang and Emily Markus of University at just after 10 a.m. at Seal Beach Tennis Center. They then had to wait for Beckman’s Victoria Aguirre and Kiki Nguyen to complete a 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 win over Koko Makrygiannis and Cydney Yamamoto of Rolling Hills Estates Peninsula in the other semifinal at Lakewood Tennis Center.

Aguirre and Nguyen drove back to Seal Beach, then immediately left to get lunch. The title match didn’t start until 1:15 p.m.

Less than 10 minutes later, the skies opened with rain and Pachl and MacCallum were off the court.

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Pachl and MacCallum are playing well in the tournament, as they have yet to drop a set in six total matches. They have had to deal with the long down times between matches as much as the opponents on the other side of the court.

The tournament is now extended until Monday, which visibly frustrated Pachl and MacCallum. Their championship match against Aguirre and Nguyen will resume Monday at 1 p.m. at Seal Beach Tennis Center, with the Breakers duo up 2-0 in the first set and MacCallum serving.

“We’re going to stay positive and we’ll be ready for Monday,” Pachl said. “We were playing extremely well, and we’re going to do that again on Monday.”

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Laguna Beach’s Sarah MacCallum scores at the net in the semifinals of the CIF Southern Section Individuals doubles tournament on Friday at Seal Beach Tennis Center.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

MacCallum said it will be the fourth day of school in a week that the Laguna Beach tandem has missed in order to compete. But they have to be feeling good about their chances for the second CIF Southern Section Individuals title in program history. Laguna Beach’s Claire Rietsch and Lyndsay Kinstler won the CIF Individuals doubles title in 2005.

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“I think they’re playing great,” Breakers coach Rick Conkey said. “I think they’re focused and will be able to retain that for the final on Monday, because they’re experienced tournament players. That’s what they’ve done their entire high school career that I’ve seen. I just think that if they play aggressive tennis and play their games, they’ll do well. They’re going to force the other team to come up with something brilliant. They have a lot of firepower and a lot of skill, and they also have good chemistry as a doubles team.”

Pachl and MacCallum exhibited that in the semifinals earlier Friday, in beating the favorites from University. They started that match with a 3-0 deficit. Pachl’s serve was broken in the opening game, as was MacCallum’s in the third game.

But the Laguna Beach duo played with confidence after that, winning the final 12 games of the match.

“Personally, I usually start pretty slow,” Pachl said. “It was early in the morning and I just wasn’t moving my feet at all, and they started well. We just woke up. We looked at the score and it was like, ‘It’s 0-3, what are we doing?’ We had no energy and we were barely talking.”

The communication got better, all the way up to the start of the title match. Pachl held serve in the first game and the Breakers broke Aguirre’s serve in the second game, before the rain started falling.

“We started off better than the [semifinal] match we played, so that was good,” MacCallum said. “Hopefully on Monday, all of the courts will be dry.”

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