Since the moment she stepped on the courts in her freshman year, Jordyn McBride has completely transformed the West Ranch girls tennis program.
She helped put a stop to Valencia’s stranglehold on the Foothill League, leading the Wildcats to their third consecutive league crown this year.
She’s helped her teammates improve by setting the ultimate example. Even though she is naturally gifted, she works harder than anyone to get better each day and improve in all aspects of her game.
Despite not losing a single set in league play this year, she’ll be the first to tell you there is always room for improvement.
“I’m constantly working on serving. Always. Serve placement and being quicker and more aggressive at the net,” McBride said. “I also need to work on my backhand slice.”
“I think with her, she’s always trying to get better. She’s never satisfied with her game,” West Ranch head coach Dina McBride said. “There’s things in her game she knows she can get better at.
Known more for her defensive prowess, McBride made an effort this season to improve her offense, attacking the net and pushing her opponents all over the court.
Every match was a work in progress, as she tried to improve her transitional game, finishing at the net and finding different ways to attack.
“She never stops fighting. Jordyn is a great defensive player, but she turns her defense into offense so well,” Golden Valley head coach Josh Stimac said of McBride earlier this season. “She’s just so great at going from defense to offense and plays very smart points.”
Long rallies were a common theme in McBride’s matches, as she never gave up on a point. It didn’t matter if she was winning by five games or trailing, she fought for every point in every game.
“I’m always thinking, just keep fighting,” she said.
McBride cruised through Foothill League, dropping only a handful of games throughout the season.
In the Foothill League prelims, she didn’t lose a single game until the finals match against Justine Dondonay of Golden Valley, which she won 6-1, 2-6, 10-8. Trailing 8-7 in the super tiebreaker, McBride showed poise in winning three straight points to capture the win.
McBride was well on her way to advancing to the round of 32 in the CIF-Southern Section Individual Tennis Championships, sweeping her first match and taking a 6-0, 5-0 lead in her second match.
However, she conceded the match because she was unable to continue playing in the tournament due to a scheduling conflict, as she had earned an invite to the Eddie Herr International Junior Championship taking place at the same time.
McBride’s dominant performance throughout the season earned her the 2018 Foothill League Girls Tennis Singles Player of the Year, the second consecutive year she’s taken home the honor.
Justine Dondonay, Golden Valley, junior
Her first year playing in the Foothill League was memorable, as Dondonay brought new competition and excitement to the conference. She reached the finals of the prelims, losing to McBride in a super tiebreaker. She advanced to the semifinals of the CIF-SS Individual Championships, becoming the first singles player from the Santa Clarita Valley to advance that far in the playoffs.
Amanda Tabanera, Valencia, senior
Though she capped off her senior year playing doubles at the prelims and CIF-SS playoffs, Tabanera served as Valencia’s No. 1 singles player for most of the year. A four-year varsity star, Tabanera advanced to the CIF-SS playoffs either as a singles player or doubles player every year. Aside from McBride, Tabanera was the only other player to defeat Dondonay in a league match this season. She will be continuing her tennis career at the Division 1 level, as she signed her letter of intent to play with Valparaiso University in November.
Shaira Busnawi, West Ranch, sophomore
Busnawi showed determination and grit on a consistent basis, fighting for every point as she battled some of the league’s best. Even when down in a set, she often was able to fight back to win. Only a sophomore, Busnawi will only continue to get better as she refines her game. She served as the Wildcats’ No. 3 singles player for most of the year, but also played as the No. 2 on a few occasions. She teamed up with Chase Eisenberg to compete in the doubles tournament at prelims.
Chase Eisenberg, West Ranch, junior
Serving as West Ranch’s No. 2 singles player for most of the season, Eisenberg was an important cog in the Wildcats’ title run. A very composed player, Eisenberg never let herself get too down or too high, instead focusing on the task at hand. She teamed up with Busnawi in the prelims, losing to the eventual winners Tabanera and Brenna Whelan in the semifinals. Eisenberg finished in third place at the annual Valencia Fall Brawl.
Mansi Sharma, Hart, senior
Sharma was the No. 1 singles player and leader of a Hart team that advanced to the quarterfinals of the CIF-SS Division 3 team playoffs. Sharma often wore down her opponents with long rallies, as she has the ability to keep balls in play and return tough shots. Sharma won the consolation bracket at the Valencia Fall Brawl.
Brenna Whelan, Valencia, junior
Serving as Valencia’s No. 2 singles player for much of the season, Whelan got stronger as the year moved on. She has a powerful forehand and deceptive speed that kept her close in most matches. Whelan finished in second place at the Valencia Fall Brawl, falling to McBride in the final. She teamed up with Tabanera in the prelims and in the CIF-SS playoffs, advancing to the round of 16 before losing to the team that reached the finals.
Canyon – Amber Kashay
Hart – Cameron Schwartz
Saugus – Emily Christensen
Valencia – Maria Cedeno