Laguna is still rolling

As had been the case during the regular season, members of the Laguna Beach High girls' tennis team dominated the opening day Wednesday of the Orange Coast League Girls' Tennis Championships.

League champion Laguna hosted the two-day event, which concluded with Thursday's finals. Results from Thursday weren't available at press time.

In singles play, Laguna's top two players, Taylor Nederlander and Claire Jaeger, advanced to Thursday's semifinals. Nederlander took on Tawnie Yeaw of Calvary Chapel and Jaeger met Laurel Hinson of Estancia.

Laguna has three of its teams in the league semifinals in doubles action. Haley Moss/Bianca Sganga met Parker Poche'/Lia Berger in an all-Laguna semis match-up and Kate McMahon/Aislin Elkin of Laguna took on Christy Brown/Erin O'Neil (Estancia)

The top two singles finalists and top two doubles team finalists will represent the league later this month at the Girls' Tennis Individuals Qualifying Sectionals.

"I was very happy with the results and the way the girls played today," Laguna Coach Alec Horton said of the Breakers' prelims performances. "In doubles, Lia (Berger) and Parker (Poche') played very well to qualify for the semifinals and so did Kate McMahon and Aislin Elkin who beat a team they had lost to earlier in the year.

"I also thought Taylor (Nederlander) and Claire (Yaeger) did really well in singles and won, as expected."

Nederlander, a sophomore, is the top singles seed in the tournament. The sophomore, who went 30-1 during the regular season in dual team matches), scored easy wins over Estephany Banuelos of Godinez (6-0, 6-0) and Christy Figueroa of Costa Mesa (6-0, 6-0). Jaeger, the tourney's No. 2-seed, also powered her way to the semifinals following wins over Stephanie Plascencia of Estancia (6-0, 6-0) and Ellen Im of Costa Mesa (6-0, 6-1).

Katelyn Bo of Laguna won her first-round singles match, 6-4, 6-4 over Cynthia Guerra of Godinez but was eliminated in the quarterfinals after a 6-1, 6-3 loss to Estancia's Laurel Hinson.

Moss and Sganga were 6-0, 6-0 winners over Olga Garcia/Amayrani Dominguez of Godinez and also defeated Michelle Bugos/Ashley Morales of Calvary Chapel (6-0, 6-1). Poche' and Berger won 6-1, 7-5 over Angie Hong/Kathleen Tong of Costa Mesa and rallied to down Dasha Farris/Allie Hatch of Costa Mesa, 4-6, 6-2, 10-8. McMahon and Elkin defeated two teams from Calvary Chapel, beating Madison Karkut/Kyli Moran (6-1, 6-0) and Katie Holbrook/Lindsey Fitzgerald (6-1, 6-3).

Moss and Sganga are the top-seeded doubles team, McMahon and Elkin the fifth seed and Berger/Poche' the No. 5 seed, in the tournament.

Laguna, which wrapped up an undefeated league championship season last week, concluded its regular season Tuesday in Palos Verdes against Chadwick. The unranked Breakers put on an impressive performance and upended the Dolphins, the top-ranked team in CIF Division 2, 10-8.

Horton said the Breakers received exceptional play from Nederlander, who won all three sets without dropping a game. Moss and Sganga, varsity teammates for four years, also swept at No. 1 doubles for Laguna.

The match was knotted, 6-6, after two rounds and in the third round the Breakers took four of six sets to earn the victory.

"It was fitting that the senior team of Sganga and Moss should clinch the victory in their last regular-season match," Horton said. "I certainly think that we came together for that match. There were a couple of matches in doubles play that we lost that weren't indicative of how close the games were, and that we could have won those points at second and third doubles."

Laguna begins CIF Division 1 playoff action next week. The Southern Section office in Los Alamitos will announce the pairings Monday for all divisions. Wild-card games will be played Tuesday.

Laguna will host a first-round home match Thursday.

"This program hasn't lost a league match in five years, and that says something," Horton said. "We should get an OK (CIF) draw, being a league champion. We'll find out. It'll be interesting to see who we do draw."

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