Rio Mesa girls’ tennis stays cool on court

The girl's ready to hit the ball.
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© Michael Coons/Acorn Newspaper
Audrey Mayer plays No. 1 singles for the Rio Mesa High girls’ tennis team. Mayer is a junior honors student who hopes to attend Columbia University in New York. © Michael Coons/Acorn Newspaper
Nothing rattles the Rio Mesa High girls’ tennis team. The Spartans are a cool, calm and collected bunch.

Not even a showdown against rival Camarillo with first place on the line in the Pacific View League gets the Spartans riled up.

“The Camarillo girls are nice,” senior Serena Chow said. “We don’t get caught up in the rivalry. It’s fun competition, but at the end of the day, we’re playing for fun.”

Rio Mesa’s laid-back attitude is a recipe for success.

The Spartans have won Pacific View crowns for six straight seasons.

Rio Mesa has made the CIF playoffs for more than a decade, according to longtime head coach Steve Worthington.

“It’s been so long,” Worthington said. “I can’t remember the last time we haven’t made the playoffs. We’ve made it pretty much every year I’ve been here.”

Worthington has coached the Spartans off and on since 1977, and he hasn’t missed a season since 1993. He also guides the boys’ tennis squad.

According to the coach, Worthington’s all-time record as the boys’ and girls’ coach is an impressive 583-199.

Rio Mesa, which won 13 of its first 14 matches, is on pace for another successful season.

Entering Thursday’s showdown with the Scorpions, the Spartans were 8-1 record in league action. Match results were not available at press time.

Camarillo defeated Rio Mesa earlier this season, but the Spartans excelled at doubles.

Chow and Nadira Chu form Rio Mesa’s No. 1 doubles team— they didn’t drop a match entering Thursday. The dynamic duo said Camarillo’s top doubles tandem was its toughest opponent.

Chow and Chu teamed up as sophomores but exchanged partners last season.

“We’re a lot better than we were two years ago,” Chu said.

Chow said she prefers playing doubles than singles because it requires teamwork.

She trains with her brother, Julian, a sophomore doubles player for the Spartan boys.

“My brother and I push each other to get better,” Chow said. “When I’m not playing here, I’m training with him.”

Chow is the president of the California Scholarship Federation and treasurer of Spartans for a Cure on campus. She wants to attend Stanford.

Chu enjoys playing basketball and football. She’s also a San Francisco 49ers fan.

Chu and Chow said they have a chance at winning a league doubles title, but they’re working hard to stay sharp against topnotch competition.

Audrey Mayer is Rio Mesa’s singles standout.

The reigning Pacific View singles champion, Mayer is ranked No. 59 in the United States Tennis Association poll among Southern Californian peers her age, according to Mayer.

Mayer, a junior, said she’s received multiple recruiting letters.

An honors student, Mayer said her dream school is Columbia University.

Mayer said she wants to advance past the second round of the CIF-Southern Section playoffs.

“It’s good to win all the time in the regular season,” Mayer said, “but I like to get pushed.”

Junior Rachel Dobrin suits up at No. 2 singles.

Dobrin replaces her older sister, Jenna, who plays tennis at Whitman College in Washington state.

Jenna Dobrin and Mayer faced off in the Pacific View championship match in 2011.

“It’s weird not having my sister around,” Rachel Dobrin said. “We all miss her a lot. She was a good aspect for the team.”

Rachel Dobrin said she started playing tennis at 3. She played with Jenna at a neighborhood court almost every day.

Dominique Derse, Rachel Zook, Emily Dykes, Ally Alamillo, Megan Schwerdtfeger, Robin Rydberg and Kat Vanta also contribute for the Spartans.

Worthington has coached many teams at Rio Mesa. Every season, he wants to see his players to enjoy the game of tennis.

“It’s great to win,” he said. “We’ll take the PVL titles and the other awards, but we never forget to have fun.”

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