The Laguna Beach High girls' tennis program will have a new leader in 2011 with the arrival of Don Davis as head coach.
Davis is a tennis instructor at the Nellie Gail Tennis Club in Laguna Hills, where he has taught since 1994. He will coach a high school team for the first time this fall.
Davis, who takes over the program from Alec Horton, will get a first look at the program Monday, the first day of practice where he will determine the varsity and junior varsity rosters.
"I think the most significant challenge, which simultaneously is the most important aspect of being a coach, is getting to know the girls, not on a team level, rather as individuals and build some type of rapport," he said. "Each girl is on the team for various. Therefore, how you work with them, or 'push them' may be different."
Davis said that several returning players from last year's Orange Coast League championship squad have "indicated" that they will be back this season.
Among the group is No. 1 singles player and defending league singles champ Taylor Nederlander. So is No. 2 singles player Claire Jaeger, who was all the team's Most Valuable Player in 2009 and 2010. Senior Lauren Michaels, league doubles champion with Jaeger in 2008 and a team member both her freshman and sophomore years, returns after a year's hiatus.
Davis said that some "very strong additions" to the program are sophomore Brooke Michaels and freshmen Bailey Jaeger, Kira Hamilton and Madeline Loomis, along with seniors Kate McMahon, Katelyn Walsh, Kate Rogers and Hanna Magstadt.
McMahon teamed last year with Aislin Elkin in doubles play and the pair finished runner-up to teammates Haley Moss and Bianca Sganga in the league doubles final.
"All together, the composition of the team should be stronger than last year," Davis said.
2011 Laguna Beach girls' tennis
Head coach: Don Davis (first year)
Coaching staff: Janice Ashton (junior varsity coach); Chelsea Loomis (assistant coach).
Overall record: 12-6
League record: 10-0 (first place)
2010 CIF results: First-round Division 1 loss (13-5) to Woodbridge
Returning players: Seniors Claire Jaeger, Kate McMahon, Katelyn Walsh, Kate Rogers, Hanna Magstadt; juniors Katelyn Bo, Chloe Mansour, Taylor Nederlander; sophomores Sarah Nederlander, Shawna Yang, Stephanie Tat, Nicole Doiron, Ines Galmiche, Anna Heitmann, Britten Bell.
Newcomers: Senior Lauren Michaels; sophomores Brooke Michaels, Nina Bo, Maya Keces, Leah Pakpour, Josie Goson; incoming freshman Bailey Jaeger, Kira Hamilton, Madeline Loomis, Olivia Morrison, Mary Emma Meyer, Grayson Cole, Kennedy Feigler.
Sister Act: The Breakers have four sets of sisters in the program: Katelyn and Nina Bo, Claire and Bailey Jaeger, Lauren and Brooke Michaels, and Taylor and Sarah Nederlander.
Schedule of events: The first regular-season match is Sept. 7 at El Toro, followed by another nonleague match Sept. 8 against Newport Harbor. "During the early part of season, we play the toughest portion of our schedule in matches with Newport Harbor, Corona del Mar and University, which are some very tough CIF Division 1 teams," Davis said. "Unfortunately, this gives us little time to experiment with doubles combinations or to get used to playing with a set partner. Nonetheless, we have some great veteran players providing leadership to the younger members of our team."