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Huntington Beach girls’ tennis edges Corona del Mar to clinch outright Surf League title

Huntington Beach No. 1 singles player Kaytlin Taylor runs down a volley on Tuesday afternoon.
Huntington Beach No. 1 singles player Kaytlin Taylor runs down a volley during a Surf League match against Corona del Mar on Tuesday afternoon.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

This is, by all accounts, the best girls’ tennis team in Huntington Beach High School history.

The Oilers had to go on the road Tuesday and take the Surf League title from Corona del Mar, one of the strongest programs in Southern California year in and year out.

The resulting match featured some very high-quality tennis, and some surprises.

But in the end, Huntington Beach had just enough to stand alone at the top.

The Oilers won eight singles sets and edged out a 9-9 (67-64 on games) victory, clinching the outright league title with one match remaining.

It’s the second league title in program history for undefeated Huntington Beach (13-0, 5-0 in league), ranked No. 4 in CIF Southern Section Division 1. The Oilers won the Wave League title in 2019, but were bumped up to the top league in the Sunset Conference for this school year.

“It feels great,” said Huntington Beach senior No. 1 singles player Kaytlin Taylor, who won 18 of 20 games in an easy sweep Tuesday. “I think our team has improved a lot this year, not only with new additions but also getting our doubles teams working on their doubles and stuff. I think we’ve done a lot better with that this year.”

Freshman Yen Nhi Huynh also easily swept for the visitors, while her older sister Cindy, a junior, won twice in singles.

Corona del Mar's Sienna Brooks hits a forehand return during a Surf League match against Huntington Beach on Tuesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

CdM freshman Sienna Brooks stunned Cindy Huynh 6-0 in the final round. The victory offered the Sea Kings (11-2, 3-2), ranked No. 5 in Division 1, a glimmer of hope.

“I told her to play on her terms and not let the stress and the pressure get to her too much,” CdM coach Jamie Gresh said. “She was able to reset after a tough second round and she came out great with good energy, positivity. It shows what she’s capable of.”

But singles-strong Huntington Beach returned the favor in doubles soon after that. Junior Solaya Han and freshman Ella Weisman earned the Oilers’ only doubles win of the afternoon, battling back for a 7-6 (7-5) victory over CdM’s Hannah Jervis and Tori Varela.

Gresh put Jervis in doubles for the first time this season, making some changes after Huntington Beach won the teams’ first league meeting by a more lopsided 13-5 score on March 18.

Huntington Beach singles player Cindy Huynh rips a serve on Tuesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

It almost paid off in a doubles sweep. Jervis and Varela held a 5-4 lead over Han and Weisman in the tiebreaker, but Han ripped three straight forehand winners to give the Oilers the set.

The win proved key. Huntington Beach took a 9-7 sets lead into the final two sets of the match. The Oilers lost both of those sets, but won enough games in them to earn the close victory.

“I knew just getting a win in doubles was going to be huge today, just the same as going 9-0 in singles was going to be big,” Oilers coach Patrick Wright said. “Of course, we went 8-1, which was OK. That extra buffer of getting that win in doubles, that was huge.”

Reese Kenerson and Jane Paulsen swept 6-0, 6-2, 6-4 at No. 1 doubles for CdM, improving to 34-0 this season. Alden Mulroy and Sophia Andrei-Birca swept 7-5, 6-0, 6-0, and Jervis and Varela also won twice.

“Doubles played great,” Gresh said. “We just came up a tiny bit short.”

Corona del Mar's Alden Mulroy, right, celebrates a point with partner Sophia Andrei-Birca during Tuesday's match.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Huntington Beach closes out Surf League play with a home match against Los Alamitos on Thursday, while CdM hosts rival Newport Harbor.

Taylor, a Cal State Fullerton signee, is ready for a big end of her high school tennis career — before another Huynh takes her place. Cindy and Yen Nhi’s youngest sister is expected to play for the Oilers as a freshman next year and make an impact.

For now, Huntington Beach will enjoy seeing just how far its talent can take them.

“I’m really proud of our growth the past two years,” Taylor said. “We’ve worked hard to be where we’re at, and it’s something to be proud of.”

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