With only four teams competing in boys’ tennis in the Orange Coast League this season, crosstown rivals Costa Mesa and Estancia are set to see a lot of each other.
In the first of four meetings between the teams, Costa Mesa made it clear it has designs on defending its undefeated league title from a year ago.
The Mustangs made quick work of the Eagles, romping to a 17-1 win over their rivals on Tuesday at Costa Mesa High School.
Already in a celebratory mood, the Mustangs sang “Happy Birthday” to Kai Kamikihara, who teamed up with Davis Willsie and did not drop a game across two sets of doubles.
“Seeing the progress we’ve made since last year, especially in the games we just played, it gives me a lot of hope,” Kamikihara, who turned 18, said of the team’s hopes to win league and make a deep playoff run. “Seeing just how much we’ve improved over half a year or so, it’s been pretty fun.”
Costa Mesa (5-2, 2-0 in the Orange Coast League) has dropped just one set across its two league matches – against Santa Ana (1-7, 0-1) and Estancia (0-4, 0-2) .
Eli Weiss-Hung waltzed through the Eagles’ singles lineup, conceding just one game across three sets. The Mustangs’ singles ace expressed delight at avenging a narrow defeat to Estancia No. 1 singles player Jamieson McLellan last year.
“It was like 90 degrees last year, and we were having these 30-ball rallies every single point,” Weiss-Hung recalled. “I didn’t want to do that again, so I definitely came in to the net. It’s not my normal game. I wanted to do that and not just play these super long points. “
Weiss-Hung, a senior, is a fan of the sport, too. He said he attended the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells over the weekend.
McLellan proved to be a crafty player with several tricks in his bag. A natural right-handed player, McLellan also played some left-handed forehands throughout the day. He salvaged the lone set of the afternoon for the Eagles, a 6-2 win over Costa Mesa No. 3 singles player Raoul Hernandez.
Estancia coach Mike Moorewood said seeing the Mustangs take the net against him will be a great tool for growth for McLellan.
“All the things I’ve been preaching to him about in the past have come to perfect fruition, so now, he said, ‘Oh yeah, Coach. I get it now, ”Moorewood said. “So now we can work on those things I’ve been [talking] about for so long.
“He’s a great kid to coach. He listens. He wants to get better. He absorbs information really well, so it should be an easy fix, I think, when he comes out and plays these guys next time. I don’t know if he’ll win all three. It’s just really tough to play all three sets against these guys. They just wear you down. “
Estancia’s Tyler Nofts played two close sets against Ryan Taylor and Hernandez, both going to the Mustangs by 6-3 scores.
Newport Rib Company’s John Ursini provided an update on the Battle for the Bell standings through the winter sports season last month. The standings showed the Mustangs with a 75-35 edge over the Eagles, positioning Costa Mesa to retain the All-Sports Cup and enjoy the feast put on for the varsity athletes of the school that is the overall winner in the series.
As winners of four matches in a row, the Mustangs have been doing it by not beating themselves. Taylor swept in singles. In doubles, the pairings of Spencer Manning and John Simco, as well as Brandon Craft and Alex Michalet, picked up the sets they were on court for.
Estancia did not have enough players to compete at the No. 3 doubles line.
Mike Van Zutphen, an assistant for the Costa Mesa program and a USPTA Master Professional, said the Mustangs have been learning to think the game and apply it tactically during matches, leading to some lopsided results in their favor.
Costa Mesa will complete the first round of league play on Thursday, as the Mustangs get their first look at Orange (2-3-1, 1-0) on the road.
Orange Coast League
Costa Mesa 17, Estancia 1
Singles: Eli Weiss-Hung (CM) def. Jamieson McLellan (E) 6-1, def. Tyler Nofts (E) 6-0, def. Jackson Long (E) 6-0; Ryan Taylor (CM) 7-5, 6-3, 6-0; Raoul Hernandez (CM) 2-6, 6-3, 6-1.
Doubles: Spencer Manning / John Simco (CM) def. Kaeden Jacobs / Frank Duddridge (E) 6-0, def. Marcos Kehoe / Gustavo Soares (E) 6-0; Davis Willsie / Kai Kamikihara (CM) 6-0, 6-0; Brandon Craft / Alex Michalet (CM) 6-2, 6-0.
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