After dropping her first set of the Moore League girls’ tennis tournament, Wilson senior Bella Nguyen bounced back to beat Poly’s defending champion Ava Deguzman 6-7 (4-7), 6-2, 6-0 on Friday in the singles final at Billie Jean King Courts.
“The tennis was amazing,” Wilson coach Keri McBride said. “We haven’t seen that caliber of tennis in many years. This is awesome for the Moore League.”
Nguyen, a nationally ranked transfer from Texas, said her first league finals day got to her.
“I was struggling a bit with my nerves and playing tentative,” Nguyen said. “I try to stay positive with myself even after losing a point. I had to clear my head, for sure, and I just learned to smile during the second and third sets. It did calm me down. I just let all of my nerves out and played my game.”
That game is elite on the baseline, and Nguyen’s relentless attack wore Deguzman out down the stretch after the Poly senior came back to win the first-set tiebreaker.
“I thought Ava played really well, and obviously the first set reflected that,”Poly coach Ricardo Montecinos said. “She stuck to her game plan. Bella is a great player. She takes the ball early and puts a lot of pressure on you. I think Ava lost to a better player today.”
“I’m honored to play a good player like her,” Deguzman said of Nguyen.
Deguzman did take home another first-place medal when she and teammate Kate Johnson repeated as doubles champions by beating Mey Phy and Sara Soderberg 6-2, 6-1.
“I’m just very grateful that I was able to be here,” Nguyen said of transferring to Long Beach. “Congratulations to Ava, she played amazing. She really made me fight and earn it.”
Poly and Wilson are both ranked in their respective CIF Southern Section divisions, and the team playoffs start next week.