The first meeting in the Battle of the Bay rivalry featured two unbeaten girls’ tennis teams in the Surf League.
Corona del Mar High easily stayed perfect.
The Sea Kings defeated host Newport Harbor 17-1, taking sole possession of first place. CdM is 3-0 after the first round of league play, while the Sailors dropped to 2-1.
“All of our singles girls, not just Kristina [Evloeva], are competing in tournaments,” CdM coach Jamie Gresh said. “That means they’re a strong group. All seniors, too.”
Evloeva, who didn’t lose a game, kept the Sailors at bay with high velocity serves and strokes. When they would lob the balls out of desperation, the UC Davis-bound Evloeva would meet their returns with smashing volleys.
CdM’s Janie Marcus, bound for Pomona-Pitzer, only dropped two games, but singles teammate Roxy Mackenzie had to comeback in the first set.
Down 2-1 to Carolyn Altshuler, she broke serve with a crushing backhand, taking the next five games.
“We were really sharp in singles today,” Gresh said. “It set the tone for everything else.”
Mackenzie, who is getting looks from schools such as Montana State, won two more sets, 6-0, 6-1.
The CdM duo of Shaya Northrup and Bella McKinney also needed to rally from a 2-1 first-set deficit. They started charging the net on Newport Harbor’s Amra Barton and Avery Wooden, connecting on powerful volleys and finesse crosscourt shots.
Hannah Jervis and Reece Kenerson, as well as Alden Mulroy and Jane Paulsen, only ceded two games in their four combined sets. The Sailors (11-4 overall) simply made too many unforced errors, which hurt them against the Sea Kings (13-2), ranked No. 4 in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 poll.
Gresh heavily substituted in the final round.
“I think it’s important for two reasons,” Gresh said. “One, you gain experience for the future. Two, it’s good to get some other kids some action. There are girls on the bench who would start everywhere else, and it’s good to have reserves ready, just in case.”
The Sailors got a win in the final set. Newport Harbor’s Sterling Solomon and Riley DeCinces beat Tori Varela and Olivia Sipiora.
Unless CdM loses one of its final three league matches, against the Barons on Tuesday, Los Alamitos on Oct. 18 and Newport Harbor on Oct. 22, the Sea Kings will claim the inaugural Surf League crown outright.
“We’ve improved from where we were [in] early [September],” Gresh said. “We stumbled a bit at the beginning of the season [with an 11-7 loss to North Hollywood Campbell Hall and an 11-7 loss to University], but since then, we’ve really emphasized competition within the team. That elevates everyone.”
SAM DODGE is a contributor to Times Community News. Follow him on Twitter: @samgododge