Cabrillo High's girls tennis team won all but two sets on Wednesday, beating Righetti 16-2 in a non-league match at home.
The youthful Conquistadores, with only two returning varsity players, have won their first two matches after beating Pioneer Valley on Tuesday in the season opener.
"For us as coaches, we've had limited time to actually watch them play against other teams because we have so many brand new players," said Mary Beth Stieber, Cabrillo's head coach. "We're kind of figuring out during their game play where their strengths are and where their weaknesses are. We're just looking to have them get as much game experience as they can."
With such an inexperienced team, Stieber said the early-season goals are simple and meant to develop the foundation of skills for each player.
"We talk a lot about no free points," she said. "Make the other team earn every point that they get from you."
Sierra Hohimer and Chrissy Hedges, the two returners, said they liked what they've seen on the courts from their teammates. Hohimer said it helps that the team acts like a supportive family.
"I think seeing us all do our best, and seeing the scores reflect that, shows that we will be successful this year even though we lost a lot of people," Hedges added.
Stieber and assistant coach Derek Wong talked as they watched different Conqs compete against Righetti. While the coaches discussed specific areas of improvement for each player, Stieber said that's not the message they deliver to the young players during breaks in matches.
"We're not necessarily giving them specific instructions about technique," she said. "It's about focus, movement and talking."
With two matches done, Stieber is confident moving forward because, "They're dedicated and working hard."
Lompoc loses season opener to San Marcos
Across town at Lompoc High, an experienced group of Braves led by head coach Marjie Ledgerwood hope to crack the top three in the Los Padres League.
The Braves got an education in their season opener against a powerhouse San Marcos team Tuesday, Ledgerwood said. Lompoc lost 16-2 but the Braves gained invaluable experience, she said, because they were forced to push their skills to compete.
"The normal progression is you see them hit with pace better and they get a little more fluid," Ledgerwood said. "I wish they could play these guys every day in practice. You have to stay in there mentally."
Lompoc's No. 1 singles player Erica Gracyk won one of the two games for the Braves and has become more comfortable in the spotlight of the top spot after last season, Ledgerwood said. There are responsibilities on and off the court with that position.
"I think we have a great group of leaders," Ledgerwood said. "Each of them are being accountable to themselves and the team. They get along really well and they’re developing their skills. The attitude to want to learn and improve is there."
Edith Elenes is the team's best doubles player and Ledgerwood said she's moving Elenes around to find her best partner.
Elenes said she's confident playing with whomever she is paired with and is excited about the team's potential.
"I think we can improve a lot from the past season," Elenes said. "I think we can be one of the top teams at least."