COSTA MESA — Jayson Nguyen and Thinh Vu could feel the pressure on them.
Everyone watched Costa Mesa High's No. 2 doubles team as they went to a tiebreaker against Estancia's No. 3 team of Francisco Alvarez and John Rivera. But Nguyen and Vu said first-year Mustangs Coach Jan Migaki gave them quite an effective pep talk.
"She said if we don't win this match, we're going to have spring practice," Vu said.
Spring break is next week in the Newport-Mesa Unified School District, and Nguyen said practice would be "apocalyptic."
Nguyen and Vu held on to win the tiebreaker. It turned out the Mustangs didn't truly need it, but it was an exciting end to a 10-8 victory over their crosstown rivals Thursday at Estancia High.
"We knew that if we lost that match we would have tied 9-9 and we would have counted the games," Vu said. "It would have been a hassle to lose that match, I'd say."
The No. 2 doubles team made sure no calculators were needed. Mesa (4-3, 3-1 in league) moves into second place in the Orange Coast League over Estancia (5-10, 2-3 in league). The Mustangs are up by a match and a half, though Estancia has played defending champion Laguna Beach twice and Mesa has played the Breakers only once.
The Mustangs beat Estancia behind the singles strength of seniors Alex Adams and Justin Dang. Both players swept, as did the No. 1 doubles team of senior Benny Quinonez and junior Tam Le.
Adams, a four-year varsity player, said Mesa had swept Estancia in his freshman and sophomore years before the teams split close matches last year. However, the Eagles finished second in league and earned a CIF Southern Section Division IV playoff berth while the Mustangs missed the playoffs.
This year there are three playoff berths out of the Orange Coast League. Adams said it would be great to make the playoffs for the first time in his high school career.
"It'd be really fun to go," he said. "It'd be a fun thing as seniors to do."
Costa Mesa and Estancia were tied in sets, 3-3 after the first round and 6-6 after the second round. It was also close on games at that point, with Mesa leading 47-46.
But the Mustangs built up a big enough advantage in the third round that even if Alvarez and Rivera had won that last tiebreaker, Mesa would have won on games.
"Their No. 1 and 2 singles were just too strong, and their doubles were strong enough to hold it [for the win]," Estancia Coach Carlos Beltran said.
Estancia's No. 1 doubles team of Cory Frino and Matt Thomas, as well as the No. 2 team of Erik Cerros and Tom Hausel, each won two of three sets. Singles players Robert Marrone, Jared Payzant and Joseph Kidane all won 6-0 against the Mustangs' No. 3 player, as Migaki said her usual No. 3 Michael Chantos was out with a shoulder injury.
The rivals play their second league match on April 25 at Costa Mesa.