Coach Rob Moore volleyed a few questions with The Coronado Times to sum up the first six matches of the season and share a bit about his 2019 team. The Coronado Lady Islanders are 5-1, 1-0 in Western League (wins against Westview, Francis Parker, Vincent Memorial, Bishop’s and Cathedral. One loss vs. San Dieguito Academy).
CT: How does Coronado stack up against other Open Division schools after the first six matches?
Coach Moore: I truly think team depth is what helps you compete against other Open Division schools. That’s something we really have especially on the doubles side, probably one of the deepest and most experienced doubles teams of the teams we’ll play. Westview and Bishop’s were Open Division schools last year (so was SDA).
CT: You had a big win vs. Bishop’s last week. Can you put into words your reaction to Coronado edging out Bishop’s 9-9, 80-80 and 6-3 in double’s sets – what was the “set of the match”?
Coach Moore: I think the win over Bishop’s epitomized the phrase, “team effort.” I knew going to Bishop’s the match would either be 10-8 or a 9-9 tie determined by tiebreaker for either team. Down 5-7 after two lines of matches and going into the third line I made a hard call (probably wasn’t looked upon as a great substitution at the time by others) and substituted my third doubles team and put in Ana de la Lama and Kate Perley. I thought at the time to just get as many games as possible as they were to face the Bishop’s #1 doubles team. Meanwhile, on court 2 I watched as our #1 doubles team, Alejandra Gonzalez and Marla Steel battled to a tiebreaker eventually losing 8-6. Now, I knew we had to win that last doubles set to not only tie, but win the team match. At that time the score was 8-9 in matches (Bishop’s favor) and the game count was 73-74. That’s remarkably close for a high school match. My players made it into a tiebreaker and down 5-6 in the breaker and facing a match point they rallied to an 8-6 tiebreak win. It was everything you could want in a high school match; sunset nearing, a southern California September afternoon, great play, fans cheering for their favorite team and plenty of “ups and downs.” When that last point was won, the Islander team and fans went crazy. I think it was clearly one of the best team efforts I’ve seen as head coach…Ana de la Lama and Kate Perley came in off the bench and rallied to beat Bishop’s best doubles team.
That’s the epitome of what coaches always tell their players, “every game counts,” but especially appropriate because in this case we really won by two points after erasing that match point…all at Bishop’s house! So, there wasn’t exactly a single set or two that stood out…every player, whether playing, cheering or warming up a teammate, had a part in this one.
CT: Talk about your returning and new players on varsity this season.
Coach Moore: We only lost one senior last year, Summer Vu, our #1 singles player, but actually Elsa Ostermarker and Tiana French were right beside her in ability and competitiveness. So, I had 11 players returning from last year’s Varsity squad and this season we added Junior Lauren Pettit, who has knocked on the Varsity door for two years, and Frosh Kate Perley, at transfer from Georgia. Again, I think they compliment our team with their solid play making us, I think, even deeper and stronger than last year’s team.
CT: Talk about the players chosen to be captains this year.
Coach Moore: In the past I selected the Team Captains, but this year I had the players choose who they wished to lead them. They selected 4-year returnees Elsa Ostermarker and Samantha Russell. I wanted the team to be able to select and follow their leaders and it’s worked out nicely. They are both superb student-athletes on and off the court and represent our school and community well.
CT: What are your thoughts on Coronado in conference and looking ahead to CIF?
Coach Moore: I try not to look ahead to the matches past that “next one,” but I know we have 11 returning Varsity letterman and no other Western League school has near that many players returning. Last year, we went 10-0 in Western League play and I think with our talent and experience we should do the same this year. However, trust me, I’ll be taking it one match at a time. For CIF…that’s tough. We are a small school which has made the Open Division the past four years. Years ago the criteria for division placement was entirely by enrollment and then by power rankings (your opponent’s W-L record and your own strength of schedule similar to college football). This year we are going to another rating system, UTR, or Universal Tennis Rating where each player’s rating is adjusted by an algorithm which considers whether you won or lost and how many games you won or lost by. This new system will take the top 9 players, total their UTR’s and divide by 9 to the hundredths of point and the CIF committee will rank teams by this number with minor adjustments given for head-to-head wins or losses against other teams. We can certainly wreak havoc on any team in the Open Division after our upset wins vs. Westview and Bishop’s.
I have a group of tennis warriors on this team and we just keep getting better after each match.
CT: Thanks for your time and good luck this season!