Fresh off making history by clinching its first Orange Coast League boys’ tennis championship in school history, Costa Mesa did not take its foot off the gas.
The Mustangs defeated a young Santa Ana team (6-9, 3-4 in league) 15-3 Thursday, to remain undefeated at 8-0 with one more league match remaining in their season. They are 14-4 overall.
The Mustangs swept all nine singles matches and took six of nine doubles matches on the way to their eighth consecutive victory.
With freshman standout Ethan Votran out recovering from injury, Mustang junior Hritik Ronvelia took over No. 1 single duties. He overcame early unforced errors with overpowering serves and heavy forehand returns to win his first match over Saints No. 1 Brandon Lopez. Ronvelia would go on to win all three of his singles matches 6-0.
“I just told myself to stay focused,” he said. “I told myself I needed to space on every ball and just watch the ball all the way.”
Votran was confident in Ronvelia as he watched from off court.
“He’s definitely got a lot of power,” Votran said. “With his wingspan, he hits a heavy ball and not a lot of people in this league can handle it.”
In addition to Ronvelia, Mustang No. 2 Nathan Trieu took his three singles matches 6-0, 6-0, 6-1 while No. 3 Devon Rogan prevailed 6-1, 6-2, 6-0.
Santa Ana received a strong performance from their No. 1 doubles combination of junior Angel Villegas and senior Joseph Hernandez. The pair won two of three doubles matches, including a hard-fought 6-4 victory over the Mustangs’ No. 1 pair of Eli Weiss-Hung and Hartley Tran.
“It feels good,” Villegas said. “The last time we played Costa Mesa, we also won two matches, but we didn’t beat their No. 1s. Today it kind of flipped, and we lost against their No. 2s, but hopefully we can change that tomorrow.”
Their coach, Eduardo Reyes, has gotten used to seeing their success.
“They’re probably the most athletic guys on the team,” he said. “They both like to hit a lot of volleys. They’re not afraid of being at the net. You need that in doubles. You need to make sure you are volleying all the time.”
The Saints’ third victory came from their No. 3 doubles pair Noe Arambulo and Brian Sanchez, 6-4 over the Mustangs’ No. 2 pair Devon Chavero and Gavin Trueblood.
Though the Mustangs have clinched the league championship and a CIF playoff spot, the chance to go undefeated in league provides them continued motivation.
“It would be a huge accomplishment,” Mustangs co-head coach Ryan Broccolo said. “There are some tough opponents. We knew we had a chance to win league, but to put ourselves in a position to potentially have an undefeated season along with our girls’ team, it’s amazing. I’m super proud of the team for all that they’ve accomplished.”
Going undefeated in league is always an impressive accomplishment, but when you consider that the Mustangs boys’ tennis team was only restored in 2016, that success becomes even striking.
Votran says he’s honored to be a part of that success.
“It feels great to see how far we’ve come from last year, even though I wasn’t there,” he said. “Being in the history books of Costa Mesa, when we’re older if we have kids and a family, we can say ‘we accomplished this and made our school proud.’”
Both teams return to the court again Friday to face each other at Santa Ana.
ANTHONY CIARDELLI is a contributor to Times Community News.