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Peninsula Easily Beats Newport Harbor


CLAREMONT — It wasn't the same Palos Verdes Peninsula that dominated girls' high school tennis in the Southern Section the last five years. The highly ranked national and international players have graduated, the arrogance is gone and the points lasted much longer.

But in the end, the result was the same. Peninsula had won another section title.

The Panthers shook off three regular-season losses and easily won a sixth consecutive section Division I title with a 13-5 victory Tuesday over a tentative Newport Harbor team that had stopped Peninsula's 20-match winning streak this season by the same score.

Peninsula Coach Tom Cox said revenge and the record books were his team's motivation.

"They snapped our 120-match win streak and we loved them for it," Cox said sarcastically. "They came into our den and beat us there. That's not cool. It's better to be good in November than it is to be good in September."

Peninsula (22-3) was seeded behind Corona del Mar and Newport Harbor, two teams that beat the Panthers.

But the Panthers didn't look like a third-seeded team Tuesday at the Claremont Club. They won eight of nine doubles sets and swept Newport Harbor's No. 1 singles player, Katie Canright, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.

Canright said her team was not overconfident.

"We knew it was going to be really tough," she said. "We talked about it all week."

Canright admitted she never felt relaxed the entire day.

"I was really nervous at the beginning," she said. "I settled down a little but never got in a rhythm. I wanted to be consistent, but I went a little too far with it and I wasn't aggressive enough."

The same could be said of most Newport Harbor players.

Only No. 2 singles player Vanessa Godbey, who normally plays No. 1 singles, appeared confident. Godbey accounted for three of Newport Harbor's points by winning, 6-1, 6-0, 6-2.

Peninsula's No. 2 player, Nikole Kabe, won her fourth consecutive section title.

"This one's the one that's the sweetest," she said. "We were seeded third and we proved everyone wrong."

Cox also said this year's championship was his most satisfying.

"We had to dig deep every round," he said. "The win over Corona del Mar in the semis was the tough one. I don't think the girls liked being the underdog, but they hung together and decided they wanted to be here."

Newport Harbor, which has been Peninsula's victim in the finals two of the last four years, finished 22-3.

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