The Costa Mesa High girls’ tennis team has had success this season, yet there is room for growth.
Team captains Amber Lee and Alexis Votran, who play together at No. 1 doubles for the Mustangs, are thinking about the big picture. The Mustangs are in position to win an Orange Coast League title, but Lee and Votran said they are concerned that the junior varsity team has just five players.
At least nine players are needed to field a full lineup in high school tennis.
“Membership has been a problem,” Votran said. “We’re just hoping that if people hear that we’re winning, maybe they will start to join.”
Tennis has not been a sport in the spotlight at Costa Mesa. But maybe that is starting to change.
The visiting Mustangs routed rival Estancia 16-2 in the first Battle for the Bell match on Tuesday afternoon, finishing the first half of league play undefeated and adding to a nine-match winning streak.
Costa Mesa (10-2, 5-0 in league) is trying to win its first league title since capturing the Golden West League in 2002. The Mustangs stayed one match ahead of Calvary Chapel, which improved to 4-1 in the league by beating Saddleback 15-3 on Tuesday.
“I was born in 2002,” said Votran, one of seven junior starters for Costa Mesa. “That’s crazy.”
Costa Mesa broke a three-match league losing streak against Estancia that dated to 2016 in convincing fashion. The Mustangs swept Estancia (4-11, 3-2) in doubles. The teams of Lee and Votran, junior Megan Tran and freshman Sophia Catania, as well as juniors Jasmine Au and Erin Rodriguez, all won three sets.
No one really recognizes a team that’s losing. But we have three amazing coaches who have built an amazing program.
The Mustangs also won seven singles sets. No. 1 player Leslie Delgado swept, though it wasn’t easy. She beat Estancia sophomore Kate Harrison 7-5 in the first round.
Delgado handed Harrison her first loss in league play, despite the best efforts of Estancia girls’ soccer coach Josh Juarez. He brought a handful of his players to the tennis courts to cheer on Harrison, who also plays center midfielder and fullback in soccer.
Delgado then came back in the second round for a 7-6 (9-7) win over Estancia’s Leslie Hernandez. She saved a match point in the tiebreaker.
Delgado, who improved to 29-4 this season, is also a member of the Costa Mesa wrestling team.
“To be completely honest, I like tennis more than wrestling,” she said. “I just think it’s more fun, but both of them are really competitive. You have to be really mentally strong for both.”
Hallie Tran and Rachel Pham both won twice in singles for the Mustangs. Estancia’s Hernandez beat Tran 6-4 in the first round, and Harrison edged Pham by the same score in the second round.
Estancia coach Kevin Springer said his team graduated nine seniors from last year. The Eagles have no seniors this season.
“It’s a building year,” said Springer, whose team hosts Calvary Chapel on Thursday to open the second half of league play. “It’s all about the girls having fun.”
Costa Mesa, which plays at Santa Ana on Thursday, had fun with the win. Votran said the program is having success because of varsity coaches Ryan and Meg Broccolo, as well as JV coach Kate Biorkman, who is Meg Broccolo’s mother.
“Our school has never really recognized tennis,” Votran said. “It makes sense. No one really recognizes a team that’s losing. But we have three amazing coaches who have built an amazing program. They’ve offered so much of their time and energy to us. It really feels like a family. The relationship that the team members have with each other and with the coaches is more close-knit than I’ve ever experienced in tennis.”