The loss of a league champion, and injuries to other key players, would decimate any team.
When you're the Laguna Beach High girls' tennis team, you reload, regroup and re-evaluate.
The Breakers put their team depth on display during their first three games of their Orange Coast League season. They won all three of those matches, to take the early lead in their pursuit of another league championship.
Laguna went to 3-0 in league Tuesday by defeating host Calvary Chapel, 13-5.
Previously, the Breakers, ranked No. 3 in CIF Southern Section Division 2, had posted league wins against Estancia (12-6) and Saddleback (18-0).
"I think the girls have played well, considering the injuries and illness that they have had to deal with," Laguna Coach Don Davis said. "We've had to juggle our doubles [teams] around, due to illness, but doubles has been pretty dominant in league play."
Laguna, indeed, has been dominant in doubles action and, through Wednesday, hadn't yet dropped a set in league play. The Breakers have gotten off to that hot start despite losing Brooke Michaels, who teamed with Madeline Loomis at No. 1 doubles, for the season.
Michaels, last year's Orange Coast League singles champion, is sidelined with a fracture in her fifth lumbar vertebrae.
Also battling through injuries has been No. 1 singles player, junior Kira Hamilton (Achilles tendon, knee), No. 2 singles, sophomore Ashley Shelton (stomach muscle strain), and No. 3 singles, junior Bailey Jaeger (wrist).
Hamilton has seen limited playing time in the past week, while Shelton returned to the lineup for the Sept. 26 match against Estancia.
Davis said the Jaeger's return is "unknown."
"We've had to overcome, and adjust," he said. "Losing one of our top players [Michaels], obviously hurts us a lot. But the girls have done a good job."
Davis has moved six players from the junior varsity team up to varsity. The players include sophomores Brigette Thomas, Cameron Anderson, Iman Berri and Malia Helms, and freshmen Kathleen Kimball and Summer Clawson.
All six have seen playing time during the past week.
In Tuesday's 13-5 win over Calvary Chapel, Hamilton (No. 1) won her set (6-5) and Shelton (No. 3) won her three sets (6-1, 6-4, 6-2) in singles play. The Breakers dominated in doubles action. Loomis, now paired with Olivia Morrison, won two sets (7-5, 6-2) at No. 1 doubles, and Nina Bo/Thomas won the other set (6-1) at the first line. The No. 2 team of Sarah Nederlander/Natasha Keces (6-0, 6-1, 6-0) and No. 3 team of Shawna Yang/Ashley Fair (6-1, 6-2, 6-4) also won by sweep.
Shelton, playing No. 1 singles against Estancia, won twice (6-1, 7-5), and Anna Heitmann won a set (7-5) at No. 3 singles. Again, the Breakers blitzed the opposition in doubles play which led to a 12-6 victory. Nederlander/Keces won three, 6-0 sets, Tat/Fair won 6-1, 6-3, 6-0, and Bo/Morrison won 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.
The Breakers hosted the Laguna 4-Way Tournament, which started Sept. 27 and ended Saturday. They lost, 7-5, to Aliso Niguel, but came back to beat both El Toro (6-3) and San Juan Hills (8-1).
"The tournament allowed us to mix things up," Davis said. "We had had the chance to play both singles and doubles. Overall, I thought we played well in the tournament."
Aliso Niguel finished in first place in the tournament. Laguna was second followed by El Toro (third) and San Juan Hills.
Hamilton was presented the tournament's Sportsmanship Award, which was selected by the coaches from Aliso Niguel, El Toro and San Juan Hills.
The Breakers took on Godinez Thursday in a league match. The score wasn't available at press time.
Next week, Laguna play host to Beckman in a nonleague match Monday, then plays league matches at home Tuesday against Costa Mesa, and on the road Thursday at Saddleback. All three matches start at 3 p.m.