Stalder not playing for Sailors

Newport Harbor High incoming sophomore Samantha Stalder won't play for the girls' tennis team this season, her mother, Diane, said Friday.

Stalder played at No. 1 singles last year as a freshman for the Sailors. She made it to the quarterfinals of the Sunset League individuals tournament and is ranked No. 91 in Southern California girls' 16s by the United States Tennis Assn.

The issue, Diane Stalder said, stems from the fact that her daughter wouldn't be able to make all of the practices for the Sailors this year as she trains with her private coach.

Diane Stalder said her daughter still wanted to play high school tennis, but she said Samantha ultimately was told it was a year-round commitment and she couldn't miss practices. Samantha elected not to play high school tennis this year, although she still will attend Newport Harbor.

"She loved the team, she loved playing on the team," Diane Stalder said. "But for her to practice with the team and also with her coach, it would be too much on her body."

Newport Harbor Coach Kristen Case would not confirm or deny Stalder's decision or discuss the reasoning behind it, although she said they're still on good terms.

"She's a great player," Case said. "I like Samantha. She's a talented player and I think she'll do well in her tournaments."

Diane Stalder wouldn't rule out her daughter returning for future seasons.

— Matt Szabo

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