In terms of the Mission Bay High girls tennis team, a pair of young ladies have been helping guide the Bucs to better play this season.
Senior team captain Ludmila Raynal and freshman No. 1 singles player McKenna Mountain are two of the reasons the program is growing.
Mountain showed how dominant she was in league play this season by rolling to a 30-0 record.
Meantime, Raynal, who Mission Bay coach Trong Tong says is equally comfortable in singles or doubles, has brought her leadership and tennis skills to the team. After playing singles earlier in the season, Raynal transitioned over to No. 1 doubles, forming a solid one-two punch with freshman Amanda Edmunds.
Beach & Bay Press recently caught up with Mountain and Raynal in an email interview, looking at how the girls have achieved success, what they like about being on the team, and the advice they would have for others thinking of joining.
BBP: What do you enjoy about playing tennis for Mission Bay?
Raynal: One of my favorite things about playing tennis for MBHS is that it’s truly one of the few sports where it really all depends on just you. There are many team sports out there, and as a tri-athlete, I can definitely say that tennis has taught me to be an autonomous and independent player.
Mountain: I’ve really enjoyed being part of a team because I’ve never really experienced anything like that before, so it was fun growing as a team.
BBP: What has this season been like both individually and as a team?
Raynal: As a team, I believe we have come so much further than we have any other year. The girls have been so motivated to be better, and that alone motivates me a lot. Knowing that I am one of the two seniors on the team really makes me feel like I have a duty, which includes pushing the rest of the girls to play to the best of their abilities, while also being someone they can joke around with and rely on.
Mountain: This season we’ve had some tough losses, but we always improve and fix our problems.
BBP: Being you're several years apart, how have you tried to help others with your games and just being a big part of the program?
Raynal: I feel like the most important thing is trying to forget about the age differences. We all get along well, and having a good chemistry definitely helps how one plays.
Mountain: I always try to give some suggestions here and there just to help them with technique or the mental game. We all help give each other motivation to do well or try our best to win.
BBP: How has your coach improved your game?
Raynal: My coach is someone who doesn’t only tell you how to hold your racket or how to swing. My coach can teach you how to change a negative mindset. When I make a mistake and put myself down for it, instead of just giving me advice on my technicalities, he coaches me on how to assess the situation with a positive attitude. I think this is very important because I strongly believe that you can only go so far with bad thoughts.
Mountain: Our coach has improved my game by making goals for me to achieve. Maybe one match, he would say “try to get three aces this game” or “only hit your backhand with slice.” Things like that so I can work on different areas of my game.
BBP: What advice would you have for any girls thinking about coming out for the team next season?
Raynal: I would tell them to not give up on the sport. Some girls have come and gone, and I couldn’t stress enough how big of a mistake that is. I’m aware of how hard it can be to start a new sport, but the coach and the girls on the team will always help you along the way.
Mountain: To any newcomers that are thinking about joining, I say join. You will make so many good friends and it’s so fun being competitive and being on a team.