Girls tennis: Team looks to compensate for the graduation of key players

Back to Article
Back to Article

Girls tennis: Team looks to compensate for the graduation of key players

Sandhya Kannan

Graphic by Derek Shao. 

Bright rays engulf the raised green and blue asphalt, rackets forcefully swing back and forth in intervals and the pattering of feet echo throughout the court— girls tennis tryouts have begun, and after the loss of three seniors from the previous season, the players are ready to rebuild the team.

“We play to work hard, and we work hard to play,” two-year varsity veteran junior Arushi Rai said. “If we slack off in the beginning, we can’t expect to get anywhere. If we start off strong, then we will succeed. It’s all about the work ethic.”

Even with the recent graduation of class of 2015 alumni Nicole Stomakhin, Aiswarya Sankar and Kathy Guo, the team is still top-heavy, with seven new seniors mixed into singles and doubles teams. This provides some cushion for possible ACL injuries after its recurrence in the previous years.

“A couple years ago, three of our top players were out, but we were still deep so we won NorCal,” Fortino said. “It’s still a scary thing.”

The 2014-2015 season brought about a somewhat disappointing year for MVHS, as they were unable to progress past the quarterfinals of CCS; whereas, in previous years they
they were able to win CCS and reach NorCals. The step downward has invoked a competitive fire in each player for this year, and the goal is to reestablish their spot on the throne at future tournaments.

“It felt like we sent our seniors off with a failure. We sent them off with a loss, and we don’t want a repetition of that,” Rai said, reminiscing about their performance at the last CCS tournament.

Rai was not the only one feeling this competitive rush. Fortino noticed it within the first few days of practice as well.

“I think this group, just in the first few days, looks hungrier, this year, and seeing that motivation has gotten me excited as well,” Fortino said. “I’m excited to see where this goes.”

Everyone on the team agrees that strength as far as the number of experienced players on the team is vital for preparing for unexpected circumstances at competitions. Although this experience can only be build over time, tryouts this year have brought about a new flow of qualified underclassmen, including freshmen Leslie Ligier, Cynthia Hong and Tanya Ravichandran.

“It’s nerve-wracking since everyone is so good here, especially those who are trying out for the first time with me,” Ravichandran said. “It’s motivating to see people in my grade play so well, and it’s incredibly inspiring to see the older players.”

Beyond game strategy, the girls believe that their biggest weapon is something that can be considered vital to every team— unity. Senior Uma Kirloskar, co-captain for this year’s varsity team, made this clear in her goal for the season.

“Yes, I want to see it all work,” Kirloskar said. “Yes, I want us all to put in the time and effort. Yes, I want to win, but most importantly, I want to see us becoming a family. In the end, that’s what matters.”