Fiona Kinsella was greeted by a number of her San Marcos High tennis teammates after the last regular-season singles match she will ever play on her home courts.
Kinsella was greeted with high-fives and hugs after completing a three-set sweep with a win over Dos Pueblos’ Alessa Somer on Tuesday. It was part of a 15-3 San Marcos romp over DP. Kinsella was one of six seniors to play their final regular-season home match. While she was a bit sad when her day was over, she was grateful that her season is ending better than it started.
It began with a shoulder injury. At the time, no one knew when the next time Kinsella, who played No. 1 singles for the Royals on Tuesday, would be able to hit one of her terrific forehands in a competitive match for her team.
As it turned out, she missed two weeks of competition, but it took her longer to get back to 100 percent.
“After I got back, I knew I had to catch up on practicing and start working harder on catching up from what I missed,” Kinsella said. “I think I recovered pretty quickly and I’m happy to be winning my matches.”
Kinsella, who’s lost just three sets in Channel League play this season, defeated Somer, 6-4, in what was the last match of the day on Tuesday with the sun going down.
She had an easier time of things in her previous two sets, defeating Kate Scherz, 6-0, and Lucy Golden, 6-1.
“I’m really proud of Fiona. She had a tough injury at the beginning of the season, but now she’s pulled through and gotten better,” San Marcos coach Johnny Sapp said. “I’m very proud of her for what she’s had to overcome this season.
“I’m very glad she’s been able to do that. She’s one of our co-captains, so that shows a good image for the rest of the girls to follow over the next few years.”
Kinsella said it was not easy sitting out the first couple of weeks after injuring her shoulder.
“Yeah, it was hard,” she admitted. “I wanted to play and practice. I would come every day to practice and help wherever I could.
“I tried to do some conditioning without using my arm. But I just wanted to get out there. It was hard sitting out.”
While sidelined with the injury, Kinsella said that she gained an added appreciation for the game and the chance to compete with her teammates.
“You want to play more and be there with your team more when you’re not playing,” she said with a smile.”
Kinsella wasn’t in any great hurry to leave the Royals’ tennis facility, named after former coach John Stoney, when play ended at dusk.
“I’m really sad to leave,” she said. “I’ll really miss playing high school tennis a lot. It was special for me today with my teammates.”
One of those teammates, Natasha Gill, continued her outstanding freshman season by sweeping her three sets.
She beat Somer, 6-4, bested Scherz, 6-3, and defeated Golden, 6-0.
San Marcos won eight of the nine singles sets, and was nearly as dominant in doubles.
“Natasha is a really good freshman player, and I would say she is our rookie of the year,” Sapp said. “I’m really proud of the way she’s played for us this season. She’s only lost three sets, and that’s great, especially for a freshman.
“We’ve got the Channel League Individual Championships next week, so we’ll see what she can do there.”
Jesi Rabinowitz and Emily Rapp led the way in doubles for the Royals, winning 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 in the No. 1 spot.
Samantha Forester and Bella Munoz also swept at No. 3 for San Marcos, going 6-1, 7-5, 7-5.
Tuesday’s match was a far cry from the previous time the two teams got together this season. Dos Pueblos won that match by just five total games after the two finished, 9-9, in sets.
“They’re just always a good battling team,” Chargers coach Laura Housinger said of the Royals. “One of the things that’s been awesome this year is that all of the Santa Barbara teams have been neck and neck all the time.
“We’re all having these battles, and so never is a match decided before we play.”
San Marcos had a decided edge shortly after Tuesday’s match commenced, and the Royals never let up.