CdM is No. 2 seed

No. 2 is where the Corona del Mar High boys' tennis team has been for most of the season, in Pacific Coast League play and in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 poll.

It was no surprise to Coach Brian Ricker that his Sea Kings earned the No. 2 seed in the playoffs on Monday, when the section announced its playoff pairings.

The Sea Kings are one of five area programs making the playoffs, the only one seeded. The other local teams are Newport Harbor in Division 1, Sage Hill School in Division 3 and Estancia is Division 4.

Of the locals, the Lightning are the lone defending champions and they have to play the earliest. Sage Hill opens Tuesday in wild-card action, while CdM, Newport Harbor and Estancia begin first-round play on Wednesday. All matches are at 3 p.m.

"This is the first time we've had to play a wild-card playoff match," Sage Hill Coach A.G. Longoria said. "We now have to win four matches to get to the semifinals."

Don't let Sage Hill's 8-10 record fool you.

The Lightning played some of the best programs, which included two teams ranked in the top 10 in Division 1. They finished third in the Academy League, behind Whitney and St. Margaret's, the No. 2 and No. 4 seeds, respectively, in Division 3.

Don't forget the Lightning are ranked fourth in the final poll. Longoria believes they are talented enough to make another run, with senior Robbe Simon, a No. 1 singles player, leading the way, and Alex Manolakas and Eric Magliarditi playing No. 1 doubles.

Sage Hill's road starts against J.W. North of Riverside (10-6) at 3 p.m. at The Tennis Club in Newport Beach.

The Sea Kings (17-3) are looking to go deep as well with their well-balanced lineup.

CdM features singles players junior Alec Adamson, freshman Henry Gordon, sophomore Carson Williams and freshman Chaz Downing, who are a combined 133-29 in sets.

The Sea Kings play host to Sunny Hills (12-5), the second-place team from the Freeway League. The two teams met last year in the first round and CdM easily won.

CdM is one of two teams from the Pacific Coast League to receive one of the top two seeds. The other is University, which is trying to claim its fifth section title in the past six seasons.

Four Pacific Coast League teams made the Division 1 poll. The Freeway League champion, Troy, isn't even ranked.

Newport Harbor (11-7) gets to travel to Troy (17-3). The Sailors are glad to be back in the postseason after missing it last season.

The Sailors, who placed third in the Sunset League, will try to avoid losing in the first round for the third time in their previous four postseason appearances under Coach Kristen Case.

"We just have to focus on what we can control," said Case, who has a standout freshman in Reese Stalder (37-9 in No. 1 singles) and a strong No. 2 singles player in junior Christian Lee. "We're going to be prepared and we will compete."

Estancia expects to get out of the first round after going one-and-out in 2011.

The Eagles (11-7) don't have to travel this time. They're at home against Loara (14-3), the second-place team from the Golden West League.

Rachel de los Santos, an assistant coach with the Eagles, said Orange Coast League runner-up Estancia played two teams from the Golden West League this season, beating Ocean View and tying Orange. Ocean View and Orange failed to advance to the playoffs.

"We have a much stronger team this year," said de los Santos, adding that Estancia only lost two players from last year's squad. "Our No. 1 doubles team of juniors Matt Thomas and Erik Cerros is our strength, as is our overall consistent play."

Twitter: @DCPenaloza

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World