GLENDALE — For all of the success that the Flintridge Prep girls’ tennis team enjoyed throughout the season, it’s likely it never faced a quality squad that featured a lethal doubles lineup like the one Newport Harbor High possessed.
“Their doubles teams are that good and that talented,” Flintridge Prep Coach Ron Catano said Saturday after top-seeded Newport Harbor won all nine doubles sets en route to a 12-6 CIF Southern Section Division II second-round victory against Flintridge Prep at Scholl Canyon Tennis Center. “They are at a level above.”
Newport Harbor (19-2) had little difficulty in its doubles sets and left Flintridge Prep (15-5) with no margin for error.
The Rebels, who finished third in the Prep League and then picked up playoff victories against Glendale and Mission Viejo, managed to win only 10 games in doubles against the duos of Ricki Archie and Christina Young, Mindy Wheeler and Megan Bathen and Alex Aiello and Riley Mathies.
“Doubles is our strength because we do a lot of drills in practice,” said Newport Harbor Coach Kristen Case, whose team captured the Sunset League championship before beginning the postseason with a win against Esperanza. “We go out there and focus on doubles strategies and we are tough to beat.
“I was told that [Flintridge Prep] was very strong in singles and they impressed me. They have some great ball hitters and they earned their points.”
Flintridge Prep won six singles sets, three apiece from Kira Lee and Jenise Vargas.
Lee, the reigning All-Area Singles Player of the Year, opened with an exhausting 7-6 (7-5) victory against Blake Bakkila. She then recorded a 6-1 win against Lauren Conway before wrapping up with a 6-2 victory against Kate Knight.
“I had a really draining set in that tiebreaker,” said Lee, a junior. “It was a great experience to play against them.
“They are the No. 1 seed and we had no expectations other than to come out and play hard. We were definitely the underdogs and they are a really great team.”
Vargas, a reigning All-Area member, had an efficient three sets, as well. The sophomore lost only three games.
Catano said he figured Lee and Vargas could handle competing against the Sailors.
“It’s basically about them playing good once again and us trying to ride all of our singles players,” Catano said. “I told our team to just play calm and relaxed.
“I’m very happy with our season and we did better than last year. We will have another good team next year.”