The Southern Section individual regionals began early Saturday morning as a tennis tournament. But a three-hour rain delay, long waits between matches and a change of venue from Huntington Beach High to Cypress College turned it into a battle of wills.
It was almost 7 p.m. by the time Woodbridge's Susanna Lingman defeated Dana Hills' Kate Romm to secure the last of four singles berths into the round of 16 at Balboa Bay Club Racquet Club. Thirty minutes earlier, Lingman's teammates Adriana Hockicko and Evangalina Soriano earned the final doubles berth with a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Los Alamitos' Melissa Selmanson and Tara Siddiqui.
"A happy ending to a never-ending day," Lingman said as she stepped off a Cypress College court that was badly in need of resurfacing.
Corona del Mar senior Nadia Vaughan, who ended her high school career two courts over with a 6-1, 6-2 loss to Saddleback's Kim Nguyen, wasn't as happy about the ending to her day that began at 8 a.m.
"It's a very frustrating way to go out," said Vaughan, who had already played two matches and five sets before she faced Nguyen. "At a place where there's no decent courts."
Nguyen wasn't fazed by the long delays and cracked courts.
"The lights are good here, it doesn't really matter where I go," said Nguyen, who advanced to the round of 16 for the third consecutive year. "As long as there's a court, a net and lines, I'll play."
The court change was necessary because the Huntington Beach High courts had insufficient lighting. Fortunately for Newport Beach's Natalie Braverman, she finished her day in the sunlight at Huntington Beach. She lost just four games in victories over Alanna Gino of St. Margaret's and Serena Fermin of Troy.
Laguna Beach's Ashley Maddocks played at Cypress, but only for a few minutes as she avenged an earlier loss to Capistrano Valley's Carolyn Mitchell, 6-0, 6-0.
The four players who advanced--Maddocks, Nguyen, Braverman and Lingman--were seeded and played only two matches Saturday. Vaughan and Romm, who were unseeded, had three-set matches in the second round against Cypress' Samantha Waller and Sunny Hills' Joanna Kao and were worn out by their third matches.
The other three doubles teams that reached the Dec. 2-3 tournament at Balboa Bay were Kady Pooler and Chelsy Thompson of Dana Hills, Leigh Ann Merryman and Jennifer Bailey of Capistrano Valley and Jenny Meyer and Kristen Case of Newport Harbor.
Santa Margarita's Erin Miller and Mater Dei's Melissa Esmero advanced to the section individual finals with victories at Billie Jean King Tennis Center in Long Beach. Miller beat Shilpa Joshi of Palos Verdes Peninsula, 6-4, 7-5, and Esmero defeated Tanai Talaid of Rosemead, 6-1, 6-0. In doubles, Erin Herrel and Casey Knutson of Mater Dei advanced with a 7-6 (7-3), 6-0 victory over teammates Jodie Nygaard and Lauren Thomas.