The four-team Wave League was a new creation this year, and it is supposed to be the lower tier of the eight-team Sunset Conference.
The Laguna Beach and Huntington Beach high school girls’ tennis teams might beg to differ.
Despite being unranked in CIF Southern Section Division 3 for most of the season, the Breakers and Oilers have put together impressive postseason runs. They will play each other for the Division 3 title at 1 p.m. Friday at the Claremont Club.
Wave League champion Laguna Beach (14-10) is going for its 12th CIF title, but first since 2005. As for league runner-up Huntington Beach (16-6), this is the first Oilers girls’ or boys’ tennis team to ever advance to a CIF title match.
Breakers coach Rick Conkey said his team played well in Wednesday’s 11-7 semifinal upset of top-ranked Long Beach Wilson at home. Wave League singles champion Sarah MacCallum, a freshman, earned a singles sweep. The No. 1 doubles team of senior Megan Mindte and junior Vanessa Gee also won three sets.
“They kept up the intensity all the way through, so that was awesome,” Conkey said. “They overcame challenging emotions and a great team that was favored to win … [but] I think that Huntington Beach is still stronger than [Wilson is]. We still have our work cut out for us, because they’ve already beaten us once.”
Junior Ella Pachl is another top singles player for Laguna Beach.
The teams split their two league meetings. Laguna Beach won at Huntington Beach 10-8 on Oct. 11, but the Oilers responded with an 11-7 victory on Oct. 22 in the league finale. That snapped the Breakers’ 125-match league winning streak, which dated back to 2005.
“Isn’t it crazy?” Oilers coach Suzanne DeVries said. “[The CIF final] is like our big rubber match.”
DeVries called her team’s depth a strength. Freshmen Cindy Huynh and Solaya Han anchor Huntington Beach’s singles lineup, but the Oilers also have three strong doubles teams.
Senior Emily Gray and freshman Daniella Pokorny, the team’s No. 1 pairing, is 12-0 this postseason. They rallied for a tiebreaker win in the first round of Wednesday’s 11-7 semifinal win at Pasadena Poly.
Sophomores Maggie Rae Walker and Haley Forth have also been playing well as a doubles team for the Oilers, who didn’t even qualify for the playoffs last season but are a win away from delivering the program’s first CIF crown.
“Every match, we’re just kind of looking at each other like, ‘How did we get here?’” DeVries said. “I never could have believed it at the start of the season.”