The 2021 Islanders Girls Tennis season is nearly upon us. After a year of a mixed/ co-ed Boys and Girls team, tennis will once again go back to its original format of the Girls Team playing in the fall and the Boys Team taking the courts in the spring. While there will be a slew of new faces in green in white this fall, the coach leading the way will stay the same. “I think this season is going to be exciting and full of growth for this team, ” said Head Coach Rob Moore of the Girls Team.
Moore, who is entering his 13th season as the Islanders Women’s Tennis Teams head coach, knows that he will need some players to step up, after losing five seniors to graduation last season, all of whom qualified for the CIF Individual playoffs last May. “Anytime you lose a senior-heavy class that was as talented as last year’s, it’s hard to replace them. But it seems like every year we have girls that I haven’t seen or met cause they’re new or they transfer in. So we’ll see what happens when practices start.”
While the Islanders did lose several key players from last year’s squad, they do have several major names coming back. Two names that will jump right off the page to those familiar with the tennis program will be Kate Perley and Sofia Yanez. The two last year were a dominant double pairing. So dominant in fact, that the duo placed second in the Western League Doubles finals and advanced all the way to the round of 16 in the CIF Doubles finals.
While it’s not certain yet if the doubles pairing with play together again this fall, the importance to the team cannot be overlooked. “Kate and Sofia will be extremely key players for us this season,” said Moore. “I’m not sure yet if they will be in the same doubles pairing again. But they will both be front-line singles players for us come the regular season. With what is going to be a younger and less experienced team, we are really going to have to lean on them.”
Coach Moore also pointed to the leadership that he hopes Yanez and Perley with bring. “I think one of the most important things they will do it be able to lead by example and help some of our younger players how to compete and win at this high of a level and this competitive of a league.”
The third varsity returnee that Moore will be looking to most this season will be senior captain Ana de la Lama. De la Lama, who won the Western League Doubles Championship and also made it to the round of 16 in CIF doubles, will be the most experienced Islander to return to the team in 2021. “Ana is a fantastic player. She can play with both finesse and power while doing a good job of covering the court. She has been a great player for this team for three years now and we’re expecting her to take on an even bigger role here in her senior year as captain.”
In Moore’s mind, he thinks the three players of de la Lama, Yanez, and Perley will make up their first, second and third singles players. “I think those three will excel as our lead singles players. We have a ton of confidence in their ability.”
In my conversation with Moore, I asked him what his biggest goal for the 2021 season was. The answer was simple, to have the team just enjoy the year. “What I really want is for everyone on the team to enjoy playing, competing and growing into better players,” said Moore.
Another huge plus that Moore thinks he has heading into his season will yet again be his assistant coaches, Dennis Navarro, and Alexia Peters. “I am blessed to have such a talented coaching staff with me. They make my job so much easier. Dennis has been with me for a long time and has done a great job at helping players develop. With Alexia, she started helping me last season and was a spark plug and I think she will be a huge asset to this team yet again. I really think that this coaching staff is one of the best in San Diego County and is a big reason why we have had so many successful years.”
The Islander’s official start to the season is still a bit off. But their first official practices will start next Tuesday, Aug. 24. If any high schooler is looking to join the team or try out, make sure to have all your proper paperwork from Islander Sports Foundation filled out and with an up-to-date physical that is occurred June 2021 or later.
For more information, visit https://islandersportsfoundation.com/2021/07/23/fall-sports-information/.
With their strong core at the helm and a mix of new faces, the Islanders Girls Tennis team will hope to yet again make noise in the Western League this fall.