Tough day in Long Beach for local girls’ tennis players
Dave Lemons had never had a doubles team advance to the CIF Southern Section Individuals tournament in his first 11 years as Edison High girls’ tennis coach.
This year the Chargers had two, Wave League champions Shannon Stolaruk and Kailee You and league runner-up Cassie Oakes and Cassey Hitch.
Lemons coached the players, plus Edison singles standout Zoe Coggins, at the first day of the Individuals singles and doubles tournament Monday at El Dorado Tennis Center in Long Beach. After the tennis, Lemons planned to drive to Las Vegas on Monday night for what he called a “golf vacation,” but the tennis came first.
Oakes and Hitch were part of the last match on court. They barely beat darkness but not Ava DeGuzman and Kate Johnson of Long Beach Poly, falling 6-2, 6-2 in the third round.
None of the 14 local players at the El Dorado sectional site made it out of the third round to qualify for next week’s CIF Individuals round of 32 or round of 16. But Lemons could be proud of his Chargers, who finished third in the tough four-team Wave League and failed to qualify for the CIF Southern Section Division 2 playoffs.
“They’ve had such an amazing year,” Lemons said. “They didn’t get the team recognition, so I know today was kind of like their one final chance to make something of this season, and really come away with some positive memories.”
Oakes and Hitch had a first-round bye before playing Sage Hill’s Madison Dao and Julia Yuen in the second round. Dao and Yuen had topped Long Lin and Tracy Gibbs of Pasadena La Salle 7-5, 6-0 in the first round.
The matchup featuring two local teams was intense, but Oakes and Hitch found a way to earn a 6-2, 6-7 (4-7) and 10-5 in the third-set super-tiebreaker victory over the Lightning duo.
“I felt really good about it,” said Oakes, a senior team captain for Edison. “One of our weaknesses has been closing things out. When it had to go to the super-tiebreaker, I felt really nervous and hungry, but I’m glad that we pulled it out. Cassey did really good under pressure.”
The Chargers’ Stolaruk and You defeated Costa Mesa’s Amber Lee and Alexis Votran 6-0, 6-0 in the first round. They then got past Trisha Senthilnathan and Abigail Yoo of Cerritos 7-5, 6-1 before falling to Bay League champions Madisen Olsen and Cara Hung of Palos Verdes, 6-1, 6-2.
Sage Hill’s pairing of senior Miranda deBruyne and junior Karina Glover also advanced to the third round. The San Joaquin League champions had a first-round bye and beat Ivy Vi and Daniela Fabella of Western in the second round. DeBruyne and Glover lost to Michelle Kroll and Francis Kroll of Northwood 6-0, 6-0 in the third round.
Edison’s Coggins beat Camille Dang of Whitney 6-4, 6-0 in the first round before losing to Kimberly Hance of Palos Verdes Peninsula 6-0, 6-0 in the second round. Sage Hill’s Morgan Mann beat Amy Trinh of Garden Grove 6-0, 6-1 in the first round before falling to Eryn Cayetano of Long Beach St. Anthony 6-0, 6-1 in the second round.
The singles player who got the closest to advancing to next week was Laguna Beach freshman Sarah MacCallum.
MacCallum, the Wave League champion, had a first-round bye. She beat Jodi Chang of California Academy of Math and Science 6-1, 6-0 in the second round but lost to Parker Fry of Palos Verdes 6-2, 6-3 in the third round.
MacCallum, who helped the Breakers reach the CIF Southern Section Division 3 title match, had a 3-1 lead in the second set before Fry rallied.
“I think I played pretty well,” MacCallum said. “It was definitely harder than I thought it would be, high school tennis all in all. Not only was it a good year for the team, but also just for me. I got really match tough.”
Besides Costa Mesa’s Lee and Votran losing in the first round, the Mustangs also had Leslie Delgado competing in singles. She quickly lost in the first round to Seychelle Balog of St. Margaret’s by a 6-0, 6-0 score.
Despite the Mustangs’ quick exit, Lee said she remained proud of their season. Costa Mesa won the Orange Coast League title, its first league title since 2002, and advanced to the postseason for the first time since 2011.
“Coming to CIF was a really big step for the program,” Lee said. “It actually felt like a dream, all of this. We were all there for each other. It was very much a team experience.”
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