Saturday, May 8, 2021

Coronado Islanders Mixed Tennis Team Enters League Play

For Coronado Islanders Tennis, the last week and commencement of league play have been good to them. For the first nine matches of the season, the Islanders were 4-5 on the young season. While that may not jump off the page at anyone, it is a very respectable record when you consider everyone on their no league schedule ranked among the top in San Diego County. 

Coronado Islanders tennis coach Rob Moore (center) talks to mixed doubles team Ana de la Lama (left) and Isaac Rincon (right) between games during their match against Canyon Crest Academy Thursday, March 18, 2021 in Coronado. De La Lama and Rincon won 6-4 but Coronado lost the match to Canyon Crest, the #1 ranked team, 7-10. (Photo by Joan C. Fahrenthold)

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“Our early-season schedule was a test, but it was meant to be that way,” said Head Coach Rob Moore. “We have a very talented team, so I wanted to give them some early-season matchups that would really test us.” Iron sharpens iron type of mentality, if you will. For the 2021 spring tennis season, due to the concerns of COVID-19, CIF decided to combine the Men’s and Women’s tennis teams, making it the first co-ed tennis season in the history of Coronado High School. It was a decision that before the season, coach Moore himself admitted he was skeptical of. 

Coronado Islanders mixed doubles teammates and team captains Marla Steel (left) and Isaac Rincon (right) strategize together during their match Wednesday, April 7, 2021 in Coronado. The Islanders went on to win all of their doubles matches and the team match 14-3. (Photo by Joan C. Fahrenthold)

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“Early on, I didn’t know how it was going to work out. I thought we might have trouble coming together as a team, but I’m happy to say it’s the exact opposite. Our players have done a great job of coming together and playing as one unit. It’s been great to watch.” 

Along with the players coming together, Coach Moore has also had to join coaching with men’s head coach Amanda Heinken. “Amanda has been fantastic to work with this season,” said Moore. “She’s been great and checking in with our players on match day and keeping up with scoring and all other match day activities. There is no way I could be doing this season without her. I think we’ve really worked and communicated well with each other. She has just been phenomenal coaching this season.”   

Coronado Islanders senior Sinaia Haskal hits a forehand return during her singles match against Otay Ranch, Wednesday, April 7, 2021 in Coronado. The Islanders went on to win the match 14-3. (Photo by Joan C. Fahrenthold)

Perhaps the biggest question coming into this season was how the players would react and play in the mixed doubles format, as it had never been done at the high school level before. As not only was mixed doubles new, but it’s where the most points can be scored on match days. “I think the mixed doubles has gone well for us this season,” said Moore. “A lot of our girls have loved the challenge of facing off against men’s players. I think it’s added a unique aspect to our match days and  

Coronado Islanders Team Captain Jolee Barr hits a forehand during her mixed doubles match against Otay Ranch Wednesday, April 7, 2021 in Coronado. The Islanders went on to win all of their doubles matches and the team match 14-3. (Photo by Joan C. Fahrenthold)

For coach Moore, the turning point or most significant moment of bonding for the combined team came after their 9-8 comeback victory over Scripps Ranch High School. The Islanders were down 5-7 after the men’s and women’s singles and men’s and women’s doubles match. Meaning Coronado would have to win four of the five mixed doubles matches to take home the victory. “I remember walking around for those doubles matches, and we were down early in two of them. So I kind of figured we were in trouble, but then we just started storming back.” The Islanders would pull off the comeback to win four of the last five mixed matches and move to 1-0 in league play.  

Coronado Islanders team captain and #1 singles player Isaac Rincon keeps an eye on the ball he readies a forehand during his #1 singles match against Otay Ranch, Wednesday, April 7, 2021 in Coronado. The Islanders went on to win the match 14-3. (Photo by Joan C. Fahrenthold)

“That was just a full team effort,” said Moore. “Everyone battled, and I think it gave us a ton of momentum and confidence in our next matches.” Since the comeback, the Islanders have gone 2-2, picking up victories over Otay Ranch and Patrick Henry in league play and finding themselves right in the thick of things. Most importantly, to coach Moore, it feels like the Islanders are peaking at just the right time. “I think everyone is playing well right now, and it’s put us in a perfect spot in league play. When we’re playing like the way we are right now, we’re a tough team to beat.” It’s clear the Islanders and coach Moore and Heinken have done a great job adjusting to the new format this season, and with the way they are playing, the season could become even more special come playoff time.

RELATED:

CHS Combines Men’s and Women’s Tennis for a Co-Ed 2021 Season

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Clark Fahrenthold
Clark Fahrenthold
Clark is a recent graduate from Sonoma State University where he received his BA in Communications and a minor in History. In his free time, he enjoys playing golf, tennis, and running. Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: manager@coronadotimes.com
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