“It’s only our fourth season, my third with the boys team – so to win the league championship is pretty good,” said Coach Diane Molsberry.
She believes her doubles team of Cameron Curran and Dylan Hofflander also would have won the doubles championship had they faced another doubles team instead of two singles players from Liberty, John Rodgers and Chris Goacher, who took the crown.
“I don’t like that,” said Molsberry. “I don’t like it when you have doubles teams that play all year and at the end of the season you take singles players and stick them in (to the doubles competition). I find that disappointing. It’s kind of understandable this year because (Liberty) didn’t have a full team.
“Dylan and Cameron have been together since elementary school – they are best friends and do everything together. Neither one of them knew how to play tennis – they hit (the ball) like baseball players. They cover each other’s backs so well – very unorthodox (playing style) but nobody could beat them.
“Unfortunately, this year and last year, singles players came in (to the doubles competition) – they have bigger serves and a little bit deeper game. I think (Curran and Hofflander) lost because they hadn’t played them enough; they just needed to get used to them. They gave them a fight; they really worked at it.”
One of the encouraging things about the Heritage team is that they’re young and will only get better next year. Two standout sophomore singles players are Joey Rivera, who lost in three sets to Freedom singles champion Bob Harris in the league tournament, and Kyle Reynolds, who has a big serve.
Molsberry also credits senior Andrew Greenwood for his leadership skills. “He’s probably been the one who encouraged the team to work the hardest,” she said. “He asked me one day if he could talk to them on his own, saying, ‘I want to go out a winner and focus the team on what we are doing.’ He motivated them this year to play more focused.”
Another standout is R.C. Cruz, who had never played tennis before joining the team three years ago “and turned into one heck of a tennis player,” she said. “He’s very quiet but just goes to work and usually wins. He definitely is one of those players who is an unsung hero. He brings in the win and you can depend on him; I know he’s going to deliver.”
Another newcomer to the game who’s been a pleasant surprise is Jimmy Enomoto, who is more familiar to Heritage fans as the senior point guard who helped lead the basketball team to the semifinal round of the league playoffs this year. Molsberry was skeptical when Enomoto told her he had never played tennis before but wanted to play doubles.
“I said, ‘You better be good, because I am not wasting my time,’” said Molsberry. “He walked out there and played with Nick Dong and did a great job.” Enomoto and Dong took the eventual doubles champs to three sets in the playoffs.
Molsberry credits Nick’s father, Ed, for helping get the JV team in great shape with his encouragement, making them run 1½ miles a day to increase their stamina, and opening up the courts at night for extra play and practice.
And she’s also proud that for the first time, East County has three teams in the NCS playoffs. Heritage hosted Campolindo on Tuesday, the results of which were not available at press time, while Freedom and Antioch were on the road against Monte Vista and California high schools, respectively.