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CdM still title contender

September 18, 2005|By: Dave Thorpe

The Corona del Mar High girls tennis team looked dominant coming into

the season, and it still could be. But the Sea Kings, who captured

their eighth consecutive Pacific Coast League title and reached the

CIF Southern Section Division I semifinals last year, will try to win

without No. 1 singles player Jill Damion -- at least for a while.

The junior phenom tried to play through a sore shoulder this

summer, but an MRI about a month ago detected a slight tear in the

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rotator cuff of her right shoulder. She is expected to be sidelined

for another four to six weeks.

But the Sea Kings still have a lot of talent and plenty of depth.

The team boasts six returning starters, including sophomore Ali

Walters, who moves into the No. 1 singles slot in Damion's absence,

and senior Rachael Miller, who becomes the No. 2 singles player.

Also returning is the No. 1 doubles team, twins Haley and Miranda

Young. The twins are nationally ranked in 16s doubles.

"They are pretty competitive," Corona del Mar Coach Brian Ricker

said. "They are going to be tough to beat."

Junior Michelle Atkins and senior Lindsey Norman also return for

the Sea Kings.

Three ranked freshman newcomers should give the Sea Kings a boost.

Flora Lee could move into the No. 3 singles slot. Lindsay Zotovich

and Danielle Kaiden will battle for playing time in doubles.

Seniors Rachel Bryan, who was undefeated in doubles on the

junior-varsity level last year, along with Carolyn Claure and Chelsea

Devin, give the team a lot of depth.

Ricker is entering his second year as the head coach at Corona del

Mar. Last year he led the Sea Kings to a 20-4 record and a league

title. Corona del Mar reached the CIF Division I semifinals before

losing to eventual champion Calabasas 11-7.

With a healthy Damion, the Sea Kings are a sure-fire CIF title

contender. They still might be.

"Even without Damion, I'd probably put us No. 3 in the county,"

Ricker said. "I'd put Laguna Beach at No. 1 and Troy at No. 2. They

are both real strong, but we're still competitive with those

schools."

Corona del Mar defeated Troy, 10-8, in nonleague action last

Thursday.

The typically challenging schedule includes home matches against

perennial power Peninsula (Sept. 29) and Pacific Coast League foe

Laguna Beach (Sept. 30).

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