CLAREMONT – For the first time in the 112-year history of Huntington Beach High School, the school’s girls tennis team is the CIF-Southern Section champion.
The Oilers brought home the title with a dramatic 10-8 victory over Wave League rival Laguna Beach on Friday afternoon at The Claremont Club.
Laguna Beach trailed 9-8 and needed a win to tie the match and perhaps come away with the title on a tiebreaker.
However, the Huntington Beach No. 2 doubles team of Haley Forth and Maggie Rae Walker defeated the Breakers’ team of Megan Mindtz and Vanessa Gee 6-4 to secure the title.
That sent the Oilers players and their fans into a boisterous celebration over winning the school’s first CIF-SS title.
The history-making shot came off the racket of Forth, who slammed the shot home just inside the line.
“I was mad just before the shot, and when I hit the shot it felt amazing,” Forth said. “The second I hit that shot I knew and I saw that (the team) were all excited. It was kind of like a do-or-die situation.
“(Huntington Beach) is not really known for tennis and it means a lot to the school and to us.”
This was the third time the two teams met this season, with each team winning once.
“Being in the championship for the first time ever is amazing for the school, especially for tennis,” Huntington Beach coach Suzanne DeVries said.
“This is the first time for boys or girls to be in the finals.”
Just getting to the quarterfinals was a first for the Oilers (17-6), who won league this season with a 5-1 record.
Leading the singles for the Oilers was Cindy Huynh (2-1 on the day) and the doubles teams of Emily Gray-Daniella Dokorny (2-1) and Kaitlin Palacio-Alissa Wong (2-1).
Laguna Beach (14-11) was led by Ella Pachl (3-0 in singles) and Sarah MacCullom (2-1), while the doubles team of Mindtz-Gee won two of its three matches in the final.
“Our team played their hearts out and they left it out on the courts and have no regrets,” Laguna Beach’s second-year coach Rick Conkey said. “Ít was just awesome at this level to see the girls competing all the way through the playoffs.”
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