CdM girls’ tennis rides doubles dominance to sweep of Laguna Beach
The Corona del Mar girls’ tennis team is riding its best streak of the season, undefeated in four matches since diving into its Sunset Conference crossover competition.
Securing eight of the nine doubles sets proved the path to victory Thursday for the visiting Sea Kings, who authored a 12-6 win to sweep a home-and-home set with Laguna Beach.
Sasha Briggs and Raya Houshmand dropped just four games across their three sets for CdM (7-4). Lillia Edalat and Isabel Roytman also swept in doubles.
“The tricky thing about doubles, especially with our lineup is we don’t always have a set partner,” Edalat said. “It’s important for whoever we’re playing with, … we just had to make sure to stay mentally tough and know when to change tactics.
“Sometimes, Isabel and I had to come back from 40-love to win that game, so it was really important [to have] constant encouragement.”
Laguna Beach (9-2) sported a sterling singles lineup led by sisters Jessica and Rebecca MacCallum. The former claimed three sets for the Breakers, but it was a 7-5 set won by Emilie Lew against the latter to cap the first round of play that CdM coach Jamie Gresh felt gave the Sea Kings an edge.
“Emilie beat [Rebecca] last time, but it was the third round and it was 7-5, so I wanted them to play first,” Gresh said. “I felt [Laguna Beach coach Robert Klugman] was going to put her at No. 2 [singles], so I wanted Emilie to play her first when she was fresh. That was a big set.
“That could have gone either way, and that would have been either 4-2 or 5-1. I feel like that was the big lift we needed.”
Briggs also commented on Lew’s momentum-building win.
“It just gave us a lot of confidence,” Briggs said. “We just played better, and we had a better attitude toward our next match.”
Corona del Mar finds itself ranked ninth in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 poll. If the section stays consistent with an eight-team Open Division bracket, the Sea Kings will have to move up to qualify for a postseason division they have competed in two of the past three seasons.
“I always try to shoot to be in the top eight,” CdM coach Jamie Gresh said. “We always want to play the best competition.”
The MacCallum sisters claimed five of the six sets won by Laguna Beach, with the doubles team of Kendyl Beresford and Ryan Levine notching the other victory.
Laguna Beach, which has defeated all comers aside from CdM, should be the favorite in the Wave League. Its place within the Division 2 landscape is less certain, as CIF officials are waiting on more data to be collected before teams on the section’s divisional watch list can be ranked in order of strength.
The Breakers, who dropped the first meeting against CdM 11-7 on Sept. 19, have wins against San Clemente and Woodbridge on their resume. The Tritons are also on the list of Division 2 teams to be ranked, while the Warriors are receiving consideration in the Division 1 poll.
“They say you learn more from your losses than from your wins,” said Klugman, whose Breakers went 1-15 last season. “Well, I’m glad we’ve learned a lot less this year. You do learn from your losses. Some of the things I’ve been trying to focus on, particularly in doubles, being aggressive, poaching, having tight volleys.
“When you lose to opponents who do those things, it’s one thing to hear it from a coach, but it’s another thing to see it in practice. I hope that makes a difference.”
Corona del Mar 12, Laguna Beach 6
Singles: Sophia Andrei-Birca (CdM) lost to Jessica MacCallum (LB) 3-6, lost to Rebecca MacCallum (LB) 0-6, def. Lola Sabol (LB) 6-0; Emilie Lew (CdM) 5-7, 7-5, 6-0; Polina Briggs (CdM) 1-6, 6-7, 6-2.
Doubles: Elodie Dennison/Sasha Fellner (CdM) def. Ava Chadha/Isabella LoBosco (LB) 6-4, lost to Kendyl Beresford/Ryan Levine (LB) 4-6; def. Chloe Balliet/Rachel Jolley (LB) 6-3; Sasha Briggs/Raya Houshmand (CdM) 6-0, 6-4, 6-0; Lillia Edalat/Isabel Roytman (CdM) 6-4, 7-6, 6-2.
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