Rebels enjoy singles scene in Mission Viejo

GLENDALE — Throughout the regular season, the Flintridge Prep girls' tennis team never ignored its main strength — a formidable singles lineup capable of leading the way to victory.

Flintridge Prep Coach Ron Catano doesn't have any intention of deviating from it during the postseason, either.

Flintridge Prep capitalized on it in a big way on Thursday afternoon, as it won seven singles sets en route to a 10-8 road win against Mission Viejo in a CIF Southern Section Division II first-round match.

Flintridge Prep (15-4) will face top-seeded Newport Harbor, which won the Sunset League championship, or Esperanza in a second-round match Saturday at a site and time to be determined.

"We pretty much cleaned up again in singles," Catano said. "I wasn't sure about Mission Viejo, but I had a hunch that we would need to rely heavily again in our singles lineup.

"We used the same lineup that we had against Glendale and we got the same result."

On Thursday, the Rebels turned to Kira Lee, the reigning All-Area Singles Player of the Year. The junior swept her three sets, losing only two games.

Flintridge Prep, which began its playoff run Tuesday with an 11-7 wild-card win against Glendale at Scholl Canyon Tennis Center, also got two singles wins apiece from Jenise Vargas and Ali Preiss to turn back a Mission Viejo squad that finished 7-6 and won the Sea View League championship.

Vargas, a reigning All-Area member, won, 6-0, 6-0 and suffered a 7-5 defeat. Preiss won, 6-2, 6-0, and sustained a 6-3 loss. However, Preiss' 6-2 win clinched the match for the Rebels, who placed third in the Prep League.

"It was a pretty intense match in the beginning," said Catano, whose team held a 5-1 lead after the first round and an 8-4 advantage entering the final round. "Then we started to play relaxed and we were able to jump on them and stay on top through the second round.

"[Mission Viejo] seemed more tight and didn't play very well in the beginning. I think we were shocked at how composed and relaxed we were."

The Rebels also received three doubles victories, including a pair from Abby Letts and Young In-Kim and one from Devin Weakland and Lucy Wagner.

Letts and In-Kim teamed up for 6-0, 6-2 victories before being substituted. Weakland and Wagner paired up for a 7-6 (7-3) victory.

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