By Matt Szabo
11:26 PM PDT, October 30, 2012
COSTA MESA — The Estancia High girls' tennis team made a big jump this year.
The Eagles went from three wins last year to eight wins in 2012. After finishing fifth in the Orange Coast League a season ago, they tied for third this year and made the CIF Southern Section Division 2 playoffs.
CIF is usually tough for Estancia, though, as the Eagles are in a higher division due to being in the same league as Laguna Beach.
They fought Tuesday but fell to visiting Cypress, 16-2, in a Division 2 wild-card match at Estancia High.
"We're just happy to even be given the chance to play in the wild-card match," Estancia Coach Rachel de los Santos said. "It was a huge improvement over last year ... but we always know that when we get to CIF, it's most likely going to be our last match. I just tell them to go out and play as hard as they can, and have fun doing it."
The Eagles won each of their sets in singles. Freshman Kinley Ohland and sophomore Mikaela Soriano won a set each. But Estancia (8-11) was not able to contend with Cypress (13-5), which featured players like No. 1 singles player Elyse Pham.
Pham, a junior, is ranked No. 57 in Southern California in the girls' 16s. Cypress Coach Joe Paul said that last year, Pham reached the third round of CIF Individuals before losing to eventual finalist Desirae Krawczyk of Palm Desert. On Tuesday, she won twice by 6-0 scores before she was subbed out.
Estancia was swept in doubles, despite the best efforts of seniors Brooke Thomas and Serena Kao at No. 1 doubles, seniors Kenia Lara and Aphisara Sirirungivikrai at No. 2 doubles, and junior Maria Alcala and sophomore Mai Le at No. 3 doubles.
"I think a lot of the seniors just went out and played with our hearts," Thomas said. "We had fun. We're proud that we got this far."
De los Santos said that Estancia played without two starting singles players; one was out with the flu and one was at a funeral.
The Eagles did have memorable moments this year. They beat Costa Mesa on the road in the first round of league before losing to the Mustangs in the second round. The teams finished tied for third, but Estancia made the playoffs because the Eagles won more combined sets in the two matches.
"We made a really good, big improvement from last year," Lara said. "We had a strong team this year. Now six seniors are graduating, but they'll be strong next year."