By Jill Fales | NB Indy
That is how Newport Harbor High School girls tennis coach Kristen Case describes her team’s season, which ended with Monday’s loss in the CIF finals against San Marino High School.
The unforgettable season included being undefeated in League play, and having an overall record of 23-3.
Among one of the highlights of the season was the semifinal CIF win at home against Arcadia. The Sailors had lost to them last year in the second round of CIF and beat them at home this year in the semis 13-5 in front of an enthusiastic crowd of parents and students.
Case beams, “This team defines the meaning of ‘teamwork’ and I am very proud of all that they accomplished this season.”
She believes her team’s strength this season came not only from excellent skills on the court, but most importantly from the team’s heart, determination and work ethic.
“All of these factors combined to build resiliency on the court and the ability to come together as a team and work towards a common goal.”
On the court, the team had a very strong season in doubles; yet, singles held their own in all matches and came up with many significant wins for the team. In league play, the top two doubles teams went undefeated and the third doubles team only lost three total sets during league. Also, the top three doubles teams finished first, second and third, respectively, in League Finals.
The CIF finals, which were held at The Claremont Club in Claremont, started off shaky for the girls. In the first round they went down 1-5. But they pulled themselves out of the hole in the second round ending with 3-3 and the third round they finished 3-3 also. “We were able to pick ourselves up and even it out, but the hole was a little too big to come out of,” explained Case.
Shortly after the game Carrie Young, who has twin daughters that play on the team, said of the game, “They put up a great fight. The girls really gave it their all.”
Case, who played tennis for Newport Harbor all four years of high school from 1996-1999, said “This was by far the most dedicated and spirited group I have yet to work with at NHHS, and I credit the girls for all of their hard work and effort.”
Anne Archie, parent of junior Ricki Archie agrees.
“I have never worked with a team like this before. I have worked with so many teams with my daughters – tennis, soccer, water polo. But this is really a special team.”
Player Christina Young said, “We all enjoyed the season. We are happy how far we went. We all worked together. Our goal was to win of course. But staying together was the most important.”
In preparation for each match, the girls would always receive an inspirational quote from their coach – words to play by and words to live by. When asked for a favorite of the Sailor tennis girls tennis team, they agreed on: “Coming together is the beginning, keeping together is the progress, working together is success. “