NORTHEAST GLENDALE — For the second consecutive season, the Flintridge Prep girls’ tennis team ran into talented Newport Harbor in the second round of the playoffs. For the second straight postseason, the Rebels once again couldn’t match up with a Sailors team that featured a dominant doubles lineup.
In the end, Newport Harbor’s doubles teams proved too difficult for Flintridge Prep to handle.
“They have great doubles teams,” said Flintridge Prep Coach Ron Catano, who saw his team’s season end Monday afternoon with a 10-8 loss against third-seeded Newport Harbor in a CIF Southern Section Division II second-round match at Scholl Canyon Tennis Center. “They just go out there and serve and volley, and they do it very consistently.
“With that tactic, they don’t get rattled. It turns out in their favor and they buy into what they are doing.”
In last season’s 12-6 postseason victory against the Rebels, the Sailors won all nine doubles sets.
On Monday, Newport Harbor (18-1) captured seven of nine doubles sets to advance to today’s quarterfinal match against Arcadia or Anaheim Canyon. Flintridge Prep (14-5) fared significantly better in singles, getting sweeps from freshman Andrea Kevakian and junior Jenise Vargas.
“Our doubles teams always seem to be very strong,” said Newport Harbor Coach Kristen Case, who guided the Sailors to the Sunset League title and an 18-0 first-round playoff victory against Chaparral. “They did great in league.
“Our singles stepped up and got some wins. They stepped up and battled in the losses. Flintridge Prep’s two top singles players are solid.”
Newport Harbor’s doubles team of Holly Hovnanian and Kaitlyn Cosenza posted a 6-1 victory against Abby Letts and Young-In Kim to clinch the win for the Sailors.
Kevakian won her three sets, 6-2, 6-1, 6-1. Vargas, a reigning All-Area singles player, also swept, 6-3, 6-1, 6-3.
Kevakian said she blocked out all distractions in turning back her trio of opponents.
“The scores might have looked like it was easy, but they were hard and tough,” Kevakian said. “They were tough mentally and I had to stay calm and not let anything bother me.
“I thought we played well as a team, even though we lost.”
Flintridge Prep’s No. 1 doubles team of Kira Lee, the reigning All-Area Singles Player of the Year, and Miah Webb won two sets, 6-2, 6-2.
Hovnanian and Cosenza swept their sets, 6-1, 6-1, 6-0. Newport Harbor got 7-5, 6-0 doubles wins from the sister combination of Christina and Robin Young and 6-3, 6-0 victories from Mindy Wheeler and Megan Bathen.
Annie Radera notched a 6-3 singles win for the Sailors, who also received a 6-0 win from Natalie Cernius and a 6-1 victory from Kate Knight.
Catano said the Rebels had a successful season, which featured a second-place finish in the Prep League and a 12-6 opening-round playoff win against Dos Pueblos.
“It was a good season,” Catano said. “I tried to balance the talent that we had and that was a challenge.
“We moved Kira into doubles and Jenise missed some matches. It was a juggling act, but we were able to get the pieces together.”