The Costa Mesa High girls’ tennis team has not exactly rolled through the Orange Coast League this season.
The Mustangs have a talented squad, but then again so do Calvary Chapel, Santa Ana, rival Estancia and Orange. Costa Mesa’s league matches against the other four teams in the league have all had scores of 12-6 or closer.
Costa Mesa has still managed to win all of them, save a 9-9 (67-65 on games) loss to Calvary Chapel on Oct. 1. But the rematch went the Mustangs’ way Thursday, when they needed it the most.
Costa Mesa senior Leslie Delgado, senior Hallie Tran and freshman Kayla Friedland all swept in singles as the Mustangs earned an 11-7 home win over Calvary Chapel, clinching at least a share of their second straight Orange Coast League title.
Costa Mesa (8-7, 6-1 in league) can win the outright title by beating Santa Ana (4-2 in league) at home on Tuesday in its final league match. The Mustangs defeated the host Saints 10-8 in the teams’ first league meeting on Oct. 3.
The Mustangs had to deal with the last-second hire of first-year coach Cathy Binnquist before the season, and their doubles lineup was not complete until a few matches in. But they have stepped up again in league play.
“At the beginning [of the season] it didn’t look too hopeful, but I’m really proud of how much everybody has improved,” Delgado said. “The fact that we’re probably going to [be outright] league champs again — fingers crossed — it makes me really proud of everybody.”
Delgado improved to 38-3 in singles this season with a 6-0, 6-0, 6-1 sweep against Calvary Chapel (5-9, 4-2). She also swept in Tuesday’s 11-7 win at rival Estancia, avenging her only league loss with a 6-4 win over Estancia’s Kate Harrison. Delgado called that win “very satisfying.”
Tran swept 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 against Calvary Chapel, while Friedland earned her second sweep of the season, 6-2, 6-0, 6-3.
“I think we felt really confident going in, because we played really well against them last time,” Tran said. “We just tried to do the same thing we did last time, not try to overthink it.”
Friedland was beaten once in Costa Mesa’s loss to Calvary Chapel on games earlier this season, so the Mustangs picked up a set there.
“She’s a freshman and she can hang,” Binnquist said. “She does really well, I think.”
The second set that the Mustangs picked up came in doubles, where senior Erin Rodriguez and sophomore Sophia Catania won twice at No. 1 doubles compared to once in the prior meeting.
Rodriguez and Catania did lose 6-2 in the first round Thursday to Calvary Chapel’s top tandem of Deborah Barnes and Britney Tuong,
“We felt really pressured coming into this [match],” Catania said. “For the first [set], it kind of got to us.”
Rodriguez and Catania came back for a 6-1 win over Myra Bugos and Maris Smith in the second round that gave Costa Mesa a 7-5 sets advantage. Then, with the match already decided, they still rallied in their third set, winning the last three games for a 6-4 victory over Calvary Chapel’s Katie Seidel and Joyce Chen.
“They were the deciding factor,” Binnquist said. " All we have to do is win one [doubles set], the way our team is stacked. The No. 1 doubles stepping up is what made the difference today, and then everybody else doing their job.”
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