Matthew Poh, Mira Costa tennis

Mira Costa’s Matthew Poh hits a back hand in a match against Redondo Union.

The Mira Costa boys tennis team currently is ranked No. 3 in the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 tennis poll and in first place in the Bay League with a 3-0 record.

They have a brief break before focusing on important matches and the upcoming playoffs. They hope to repeat league play the second time through with three more wins and finish as league champions.

Mira Costa was riding a 13-match winning streak heading into last week after beating Santa Monica 13-5 in a nonleague match in Manhattan Beach.

Unfortunately, the streak came to an end against Northwood by a score of 10-8 in another nonleague match at home a week ago.

“The team had a similar 13-game winning streak last year before losing to Peninsula,” said Mira Costa boys’ tennis head coach Joe Ciasulli. “Streaks are fun to talk about, but it's not how a team starts the season, it's how the team finishes. Last year's team finished strong, playing its best tennis during playoff time.”

The Mustangs rebounded from their first loss as they went on to win their next two matches to finish 2-1 on the week and are now 15-1.

“The team has been on a good streak this season,” said Mira Costa senior Matthew Poh. “I would attribute our success to teamwork. Our players are willing to play any position in the lineup when necessary. We are lucky to have players who can play singles or doubles.”

Poh was the only bright spot in singles in the loss to Northwood as he won two sets 6-1 and 6-2.

“Our team did not come prepared and did not bring our “A” game,” Poh said. “I have no doubt we would beat them in another matchup.”

Mira Costa’s doubles team did their part as Max Wuelfing/Ethan Han won three sets 6-0, 6-0, and 6-1; and Kelly Giese/Tanner Chen won two sets 6-4 and 6-1.

Maybe it was a wakeup call.

“I hope this year's team can do the same thing (in the playoffs as last year’s team), but the loss against Northwood is troublesome,” Ciasulli said. “That was not the team's best tennis.  The team has too much talent not to play better.”

Mira Costa relies on the strong singles play of Tim Dzhurinskiy, Kyle Sillman, and Poh.

“They should be able to dominate,” Ciasulli said. “Weulfing/Han is a very formidable doubles’ pairing who rarely lose. And Giese/Chen will win their fair share of matches. That should be a winning combination. However, there is a problem if the singles players only win three singles matches like they did against Northwood.”

He could not explain what had happened in the loss.

“It was a real bad loss,” said the coach.

Mira Costa took it out on its next two opponents Westlake and Redondo Union winning 14-4 and 16-2. The latter was their last match to this point, it happened last Thursday. They are now on spring break.

Against Westlake, Giese won two sets 6-1 and 6-0 in singles.

In doubles, Sillman/Noah Gonalons won three sets 6-4, 6-2, and 6-0; and Nick Darrow/Chen won three sets 6-1, 6-0, and 6-1.

All three matches were at home, including their first meeting against rival Redondo Union, which is having a makeover following the departure of some key players.

In singles, Mira Costa’s Weulfing won three sets at love 6-0, 6-0, and 6-0; Giese won one set 6-1; Tanner Chen won two sets 6-1 and 6-3; and Noah Daniels won one set 6-0.

Mira Costa also was strong in doubles as Poh/Kyle Chen won two sets 6-0 and 6-1; Sillman/Gonalons won two sets 6-2 and 6-1 and Nick Darrow/Han won two sets 6-2 and 6-1.

The following teams won one set each and included Nick Samuelian/Zach Wohl, 6-2; Vikram Arora/Arya Samimi, 6-4 and Luca Langella/Viraj Arora, 6-4.

Redondo Union’s best player this year has been Jordan Alexander, who was the No. 3 singles player last year. He is having a breakout year with a 25-8 record with three matches to play.

For Mira Costa, it is back to business in the next few days.

“Next week will tell us more about our team,” Ciasulli said.  

“We hope to stay injury-free and continue playing strong to win Bay League and then hopefully make a deep run in CIF,” Poh said.

Contact this reporter at mhixon@tbrnews.com or on Twitter @michaeljhixon.com.

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