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Corona del Mar girls’ tennis sweeps Surf League finals

Mixed emotions ruled the day for the Corona del Mar High girls’ tennis team at the Surf League tournament Thursday afternoon at Seal Beach Tennis Center.

It is difficult to play against teammates, especially with spots in the CIF Southern Section Individuals tournament on the line. Yet, the league champion Sea Kings still could feel a sense of accomplishment after dominating the singles and doubles tournaments, just like they dominated the four-team league during the season.

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CdM swept the top three positions in both singles and doubles. In the end, three of coach Jamie Gresh’s seniors stepped up as first-time league champions.

Top-seeded Sea Kings senior Janie Marcus defeated freshman teammate Jane Paulsen 6-1, 6-1 to win the Surf League singles title. CdM seniors Kristina Evloeva and Roxy MacKenzie, also the top seed, teamed for the doubles title. They beat No. 2-seeded CdM sophomores Reece Kenerson and Hannah Jervis 6-0, 6-2 in the final.

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All of the six aforementioned players advance to the CIF Southern Section Individuals tournament, which begins Nov. 19 with the sectional round.

“It’s been a great experience,” said Marcus, a Pomona-Pitzer commit who was home-schooled last year. “I’ve absolutely loved [playing high school tennis as a senior] … It’s just hard to play a teammate because of the pressure and stress.”

Marcus had to overcome a battle with CdM sophomore Alden Mulroy in the singles semifinals. Marcus saved a set point in the first set before rallying for a 7-5, 6-3 victory. Mulroy served for the set at 5-4 before Marcus earned the break of serve.

“Once I got that break, that’s when I started relaxing,” Marcus said. “When I relax, I play better.”

Evloeva played at No. 1 singles all season for CdM, yet she teamed up with MacKenzie in doubles for the league finals. A UC Davis commit, Evloeva said the decision was made easier when she suffered a minor back injury at a United States Tennis Assn. Level 4 tournament in Irvine last weekend.

“It’s a lot more fun playing doubles,” Evloeva said. “I think if we try hard enough, we’ll have a good run. We work really well together, because we both play really aggressive and we both have pretty good serves.”

Evloeva was a Pacific Coast League doubles finalist last year with graduate Annika Bassey. Evloeva and Bassey went on to make the CIF Individuals quarterfinals.

MacKenzie said that Evloeva also serves as a source of motivation at times during their matches.

“Kristina always keeps me on my toes,” MacKenzie said. “Sometimes I think I relax too much in doubles, but she keeps me on my toes.”

Evloeva and MacKenzie defeated Bekah Chung and Kristin Eliassen of Los Alamitos 6-0, 6-4 in one doubles semifinal. Kenerson and Jervis topped CdM seniors Bella McKinney and Shaya Northrup 6-3, 6-3 in the other.

Newport Harbor High singles player Lane McArdell, the No. 2 seed, competes in a Surf League semifinal match at Seal Beach Tennis Center on Thursday.
Newport Harbor High singles player Lane McArdell, the No. 2 seed, competes in a Surf League semifinal match at Seal Beach Tennis Center on Thursday. (Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

CdM also won both of the third-place matches at league finals, and that singles player and doubles team will be alternates for CIF Individuals. Mulroy defeated Newport Harbor junior Lane McArdell, 6-4, 6-3, while Northrup and McKinney topped the team from Los Alamitos 6-2, 6-1.

It was a good run for McArdell, a left-hander who lost 6-1, 6-4 to Paulsen in the semifinals. She has held down the No. 1 singles spot this season for the Sailors after missing nearly all of last year with a back injury, helping them finish second in the league.

“It hurts to lose, but I’m proud of how I played,” McArdell said. “I worked my [behind] off during the offseason, so it’s really nice to have it pay off and make it to the semis. It’s a really good reward.”

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