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Dana Hills tops CdM, advances to title match
LAGUNA NIGUEL - Dana Hills reached the CIF-SS DivisionI girls tennis championship match for the third consecutive season behind strong singles play and a key victory in doubles Thursday.
The top-seeded Dolphins captured seven of the nine singles sets to defeat No. 4 Corona del Mar, 11-7, in the semifinals at Laguna Niguel Racquet Club.
Dana Hills (20-0) faces No. 2 Campbell Hall of North Hollywood in Monday's final. Campbell Hall beat No. 3 Palos Verdes, 11-7, in Thursday's other semifinal.
Corona del Mar (21-2) lost to Dana Hills the previous two years in the finals and won the title in 2006. The Sea Kings won their 10th consecutive Pacific Coast League title in qualifying for the postseason.
"Whenever it's Dana Hills and Corona del Mar, it's always a close match all the way through," Dolphins coach Mark Spearman said. "You have to hand it to our singles. They have been our bread and butter all year. We had a couple sets go our way, and those were gifts. We were looking to win this match 10-8 or 9-9, and win on games."
The Dolphins built a 4-2 advantage after the opening round, with a big victory at No. 2 doubles. Laura Wilke and Rebecca Winkle took a 3-0 lead for the Dolphins vs. the CdM's Katelyn Nguyen and Kalika Slevcove.
However, Nguyen and Slevcove fought back and gained the lead, 4-3. The Sea Kings had a set point leading 6-5, but the Dolphins managed to force a tiebreaker and won it, 7-4.
"That changed the momentum," Sea Kings coach Brian Ricker said. "The girls were still pretty positive even being down 4-2, but being 3-3 would have been way better. We had our chances."
Corona del Mar had a chance to even the match at 6 in Round 2, but the Dolphins No. 3 singles player Victoria Wing dodged two set points and beat Hailey Hogan, 7-5. It made the match score 7-5 for Dana.