Briefs: Newport Harbor defends crown

The Newport Harbor High tennis program defended its title Sunday at the second annual Pacific Challenge World Team Tennis high school coed competition, held at The Tennis Club Newport Beach.

The Sailors defeated Laguna Beach, 84-23, and Sage Hill, 46-31, in the round-robin tournament. Mater Dei was scheduled to be the fourth team in the competition but did not participate.

The tournament featured five girls' singles sets, as well as three boys' singles, three girls' doubles, two boys' doubles and three mixed doubles sets. Newport Harbor Coach Kristen Case said her team, featuring many of the girls who advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division II title match last fall, did not a lose a set in girls' singles or doubles.

Case had incoming senior Blake Bakkila at No. 1 singles, sophomore-to-be Natalie Cernius at No. 2 singles and incoming freshman Anna Radeva at No. 3 singles. Kate Knight, who will be a sophomore, and incoming freshman Michelle Samson rounded out the Newport singles lineup.

The Sailors had Mindy Wheeler and Megan Bathen, Christian and Robin Young, as well as Holly Hovnanian and Kaitlyn Cosenza, as their three doubles teams.

Case said Newport's top boys' players at the tournament included Christian Lee, Chase Rados, Garrett Beyer and Mike Allen.

"It's a great confidence boost going into the season," said Case, whose girls' team opens its regular season at Laguna Beach on Sept. 8. "It's a great way for the kids to get back into match mode. The girls have been working really hard this summer, and it was great to see their improvements in matches on the court."

—Matt Szabo

CdM, Eagles ranked

Corona del Mar High is ranked No. 4 and Estancia is No. 9 in the CIF Southern Section Southern Division preseason football poll announced Thursday.

CdM and Estancia won outright league titles last season. The Sea Kings went unbeaten in the Pacific Coast League and the Eagles finished undefeated in the Orange Coast League.

CdM reached the division semifinals twice in the past three seasons under Jason Hitchens, who stepped down after last season and has been replaced by Scott Meyer.

Coach Mike Bargas has led Estancia to the postseason in three of his first four years at the helm. The Eagles, who open the season at Bolsa Grande on Sept. 9, are looking for their first playoff victory in 31 years.

The Pacific Coast League is robust again, with Beckman (No. 1), Northwood (No. 3) and Woodbridge (No. 5) ranked in the Southern Division.

The Sea Kings' attempt at a 14-game season starts Sept. 2, when they open against Savanna at La Palma Park in Anaheim.

— From staff reports

Locals vie on sand

Costa Mesa resident Jake Gibb, Corona del Mar resident Sean Rosenthal and former UC Irvine standout Whitney Pavlik are among the beach volleyball players set to compete in the 51st annual Manhattan Beach Open, set for Friday through Sunday.

The event, which is a three-day, double-elimination tournament, marks the debut of the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball series. Sixty-four teams from each gender will battle for the largest domestic prize purse of 2011, $200,000, as well as having their names enshrined on the Manhattan Beach Pier's Volleyball Walk of Fame. The finals will be televised live on VERSUS.

The Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball series continues in Miami (Sept. 16-18) before heading back to Southern California for the series national championship in Hermosa Beach, Sept. 23-25.

—From staff reports

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