CARLSBAD — As the 2010 tennis season came to a close last fall, the La Costa Canyon girls record stood at just 8-7 in CIF Division I, and the team had just failed to make the Division I finals for the 10th consecutive year. But the story has a happy ending.
With the departure of the head coach, a thick air of uncertainty engulfed the varsity girls’ tennis program at La Costa Canyon High School. A lengthy search was launched for a new coach, which ended just weeks before the start of the 2011 season. A new crop of young untested freshman left many wondering about the competitiveness of the team in the Avocado West and even the future of the program.
New head coach, Erik Mateljan, and new assistant coach, Jimmy Santangelo, had their work cut out for them as the team took the court in late August. A team had to be molded in just a few short weeks before the team’s first match against San Dieguito Academy High School.
As the season unfolded, it became apparent that three freshman and a sophomore from Colorado would provide some real fire-power to the team. Freshmen Nicole Yermanos and Nicole Camaratta, and sophomore Rachel Bosler, became top singles players, while freshman, Shawn Specht, joined returning Mavericks Kelsey Richer, Anya Tugucheva, Lauren Morrison, Blair Middlebrook, Shelby Wailes, Megan Bertha, Nicole Drago and Allie Mulloy on the doubles teams.
This young team proceeded to take the Avocado West by storm compiling a 9-0 league record. Its overall 12-3 record seeded the Mavericks as No. 4 at the start of the CIF Division I team tournament on Nov. 1. After breezing through the first two rounds, the Mavericks faced off against the No. 1 seed and heavily favored Westview Wolverines. Lead by tremendous play by their doubles teams, the Mavericks pulled off an upset, defeating the Wolverines 10-8 and found themselves in the division finals against arch-rival Torrey Pines High School. Although, the Mavericks lost to powerhouse Torrey Pines in the finals, this marked the first time in 11 years that an LCC Girls tennis team had made it to the CIF Division I finals.
The team also did very well in the League tournament the following week. It would be LCC’s crowning achievement to a Cinderella season as the finals in both doubles and singles featured all LCC players. Nicole Camaratta won the League Singles Championship while the team of Anya Tugucheva and Kelsey Richer won the League Doubles Championship.
During the week of Nov. 14, the Mavericks played in the CIF Division Tournament against the best female tennis players in San Diego County. Both Nicole Yermanos (No. 16 seed) and Nicole Camaratta advanced to the third round of the singles tournament before losing tough matches. The coaches were proud of the teams achievements, establishing LCC as a force in Division I girls tennis.