The Mira Costa girls’ tennis team, defending Division 1 CIF-Southern Section champions, are off to a roaring start after winning the 5th annual Golden State Tennis Classic held at Stanford last weekend. The Mustangs followed that up with a road victory at Harvard-Westlake last Tuesday.
Last year they finished second in the tourney, but won it for the first time this year. It is one of the top high school tournaments in the state.
Mira Costa and St. Francis of Mountain View played to a 3-3 tie, with Mira Costa winning 8-6 in sets won.
“The girls played extremely well up in Stanford, probably as well as we can play,” said Mira Costa girls’ tennis head coach Joe Ciasulli. “I was very proud of them. Mira Costa is the only SoCal team that has played in all five years of the tournament so this championship will always be very special to me.”
He knew they had a shot since a couple top Bay League teams were not there.
“Since Peninsula and Palos Verdes were not there, I knew going in we had a good shot if we played to our full potential,” he added. “And we did.”
“The final was definitely difficult, especially since we all knew their players were highly-ranked players,” said Mira Costa’s Audrey Vo. “I think we all thought we had a chance to win, but it definitely meant it would require a few upsets.”
Not bad for a team that lost three key players from a year ago.
In doubles, Kacey Feng/Sydney Vo won 6-3, 6-1; Olga Nagy/Amanda Scott won 6-1, 6-4; and Sydney Miller/Peyton Douglas won 7-5, 6-3.
Feng, a junior, attributed the Mustangs' victory to the team's versatility. Every player, she said, is experienced at singles and doubles and call all play interchangeably.
"For doubles, Sydney and I try to be as aggressive as we can, both at the net, and poach a lot to win the point," said Fend. "I hope we will be successful this season because we have a very strong team altogether and everyone is working hard!”
In the semifinals, Mira Costa beat Menlo of Menlo, California 4-2.
In singles, Haily Huynh won 7-6(2), 6-1. In doubles, Kacey Feng/Sydney Vo won 6-0, 6-2; Olga Nagy/Amanda Scott won 6-4, 6-2; and Ella Davis/Peyton Douglas won 6-3, 6-2.
Mira Costa won the tourney on the strength of their doubles play taking all 12 matches they played in the tournament.
Kendall Daviduk, a senior who plays singles and doubles, said she the team worked hard and earned the win.
"This team puts in so many hours of practice either as a team or individually which helps us perform to the best of our abilities," said Daviduk.
This season has gone very well and we have been able to out perform our opponents thus far. This week will be very challenging for us but I think that as long as everyone puts in their best efforts we hopefully will be able to maintain our undefeated record.”
Also, four Bay League teams have won the tourney in its five-year existence. Mira Costa joins previous two-time winner Peninsula and Palos Verdes.
A day earlier, in the first match of the tournament, the Mustangs defeated Monte Vista of Danville California 6-0. In the second match, Mira Costa defeated Palo Alto 5-1. In singles, Haily Huynh won 6-2, 6-0; and Kacey Feng won 6-4, 6-2.
In their latest match, they defeated Harvard-Westlake 13-5 at the Weddington Golf and Tennis Center last Tuesday.
“A surprisingly easy win for the Mustangs,” Ciasulli said.
Harvard-Westlake was strong in singles, but Mira Costa dominated the doubles taking eight of nine sets.
In singles, Audrey Vo won her two sets 6-3, 6-0; Haily Huynh won two more by scores of 6-2, 6-0; and Ella Lokier won one set 6-3.
In doubles, Olga Nagy/Amanda Scott won two sets 6-2, 6-0; Kacey Feng/Sydney Vo won three sets 6-3, 6-2, 6-1; and Ella Davis/Sydney Miller won 6-2; Ella Davis/Kiki Daviduk won 6-3; and Kiki Daviduk/Hannah Bergin took another set 6-3.
Mira Costa’s next match was the day after. They played the team they faced in the CIF final a year ago, Dana Hills, at home.
So far, this year’s team is off to a sensational start. They are 6-0 overall.
“This start is even better than I could have imagined,” Ciasulli said. “We lost three of our best players from last year (through graduation and relocation) and we didn't add any freshman to the varsity team.”
Does this team have the talent to go back-to-back as CIF champions? It will be hard, Ciasulli said.
“We won in Division 1 last year and this year it's almost a certainty that we will be in the Open Division, especially after the start we've had. It will be very, very tough to win in the Open Division.”
This year, the doubles play is what will carry the team, according to the coach.
“Singles have played very well but most teams are strong in singles. As evidenced by the seven out of nine doubles sets we won against Arcadia and the fact that we won all 12 doubles matches we played in the Golden State Classic, doubles has been, and will continue to be, our strength.”
Mira Costa opened the season on September 4 with a win against Arcadia, 10-8, in Manhattan Beach. A year ago, they lost 13-5.
In doubles, Olga Nagy/Audrey Vo won three sets 6-1, 6-1, and 6-0;
Asked what makes Mira Costa so good this year, Sydney Vo had this to say.
“I think what makes our team really good is the variety of specialties all our players have. Some girls are really good at the net so they’re good for doubles and some players are really good at ground strokes so they can play singles too. Also, a lot of players are good for any part so our team can be very lenient to the lineup and can mix it up depending on the team we play.”
Because of this, they expect the winning to continue this year.
“I think we’ll have a successful season because we already started off really strong by winning at Stanford and we also have so many strong players where were a deep team,” Sydney Vo said.