Playing tennis at Coast Union means rarely having an opportunity to face similar-sized schools, given that Coast is the only school in the Coast Valley League that offers girls and boys tennis.
Hence, student athletes on the tennis team this year have gone head to head against schools such as Santa Maria High School — with more than 10 times as many students (2,282) as are enrolled at Coast Union (217). In that Oct. 1 match, junior Maddie May won two of her three sets (6-2, 6-2), and junior Michelle Campos also won a set, but Santa Maria dominated 15-3.
Earlier in the season, the Lady Broncos lost to Paso Robles (1,932 students), Lompoc (1,350 students) and to Atascadero (1,485 students), among others.
“It’s been a pretty rough season, actually,” Coach Ron Ruggles said.
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He was not just talking about the competition; Ruggles observes his players practicing “really, really well,” but said they have a hard time during live matches.
“Maybe that’s because they’re young,” Ruggles said, but he also noted that many of the student athletes did not take advantage of the tennis lessons he offered during the offseason.
“I made extra training available to them; I even offered transportation for them, but for whatever reason, very few showed up.”
Still, with just a couple of matches left in the season, Ruggles said, “They are improving — they’re getting better. And there shouldn’t be any excuses. I tell them you just have to try your best and as long as you leave everything you have on the court, you can’t be bummed out about it.”