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MATT MASIN STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Corona del Mar's Bella McKinney hits the ball during a doubles match against Harvard-Westlake in the CIF-SS Division 1 semifinals at Corona del Mar High on Wednesday.

CdM's fall ends O.C. streak in Division 1 final

STAFF WRITER

The teams change, as the do the faces, every November.

For the past decade, however, there’s been one constant in the Division 1 girls tennis finals: an Orange County representative.

Second-seeded Corona del Mar appeared poised to extend that streak Wednesday, but the Sea Kings were never able to capture a lead and ultimately dropped their semifinal match to visiting Harvard-Westlake of Studio City, 11-7.

The third-seeded Wolverines (14-1) will play No. 1 Peninsula of Rolling Hills Estates (18-1) at The Claremont Club on Friday morning for the Division 1 crown, making it the first time since 2004 Orange County was shut out of the finale.

“That’s a very good team and a strong lineup,” Sea Kings coach Jamie Gresh said of Harvard-Westlake. “I’m really happy with how our girls competed. I thought they played a very good match. I thought we created a lot of opportunities, and had some chances. A lot of the sets we lost were close.”

CdM’s Jasie Dunk closed the first round with a hard-fought 7-5 win over nationally ranked freshman Jennifer Gadalov which evened the match at 3-3.

Much like it needed to do in the first round, the Sea Kings again sought a victory in the second round’s final set to stay knotted with the Wolverines. Despite leading early in the tiebreaker, Siena Sharf and Brooke Kenerson were unable to hang on to their doubles set against Jenna Moustafa and Sophia Genender, falling 7-6 (9-7), making the team score 7-5.

“You can’t expect all the breaks to go your way,” Gresh added. “When you’re playing good teams, it goes back and forth.”

The Sea Kings (20-2) trailed by just three games, 54-51, after two rounds.

Harvard-Westlake, however, won a pair of sets on the doubles and singles side relatively quickly in the final round, tallying their 10th and 11th points before the match came to a conclusion.

Also in Division 1:

Peninsula 15, Dana Hills 3: The top-seeded Panthers will have an opportunity to capture their third straight CIF crown on Friday after defeating the Dolphins.

In Division 2:

Arcadia 18, Sage Hill 0: The Lightning finished the season with a 17-3 record, with its only losses coming against Corona del Mar, Newport Harbor and the second-seeded Apaches.

In Division 3

Valencia 9, Long Beach Poly 9: The Tigers advanced to their second consecutive CIF finals by edging the host Jackrabbits on games, 81-72. Junior Emilee Duong did not drop a single game in the semis, posting three 6-0 sets to lead top-seeded Valencia.

Yorba Linda 10, Santa Ynez 8: Junior Emily Valenciano posted a 6-0, 6-1, 6-0 score line, and the Mustangs won six of nine singles sets in the victory over the second-seeded Pirates.

Yorba Linda will match up against top-seeded Valencia on Friday for the Division 3 crown. The two schools met in early September, with the Tigers handing the Mustangs a 12-6 loss.

In Division 5:

Magnolia 9, Maranatha 9 (Magnolia wins on games, 83-77): The Sentinels won the tiebreaker to reach Friday’s championship finale at The Claremont Club, where they will see Thacher, the division’s No. 2 overall seed.

Contact the writer: kconnolly@ocregister.com


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