Girls’ tennis aims to improve upon last year’s second place finish

Samir Patankar, Staff Writer

Last year, girls’ tennis had a disappointing end at counties, losing to Whitman and finishing in second place. This year, girls’ tennis is expecting nothing less than a county championship, followed by regional and state championships.

They finished 11-1 last season only losing to Whitman.Girls’ tennis has been in the fall in every previous season but now their season is in the spring along with the boys. Coach Fevronia Cresham coached both teams last year but couldn’t this year. The new coach for girls is Mateo Cevallos, a former tennis player from Wootton. He won three consecutive state and county championships for boys’ tennis and now teaches at OSSA Tennis Academy.

The team is off to a hot start. They played their first scrimmage against Urbana on March, 12. The girls swept Urbana 7-0. Freshman Helen Sarikulaya and sophomore Irene Wang shined, dominating their opponents in a 8-0 win in both of their matches. “I had a lot of fun in my first scrimmage. It was a rush playing for my first time and I was definitely nervous but it went really well,” Sarikulaya said.

Players on the team have mixed feelings about girls’ tennis being moved to spring. Most of the response is positive as many of the girls like to play in the heat instead of the cold. Since states is played in spring, in recent years the girls would have to play and practice year round after their fall season finished. “I think the season moving to spring is really cool. We don’t have to play in the cold anymore and it’s cool playing with the boys sometimes. I am also happy that we get to play states right after the regular season ends because playing that much is too tiring,” junior Jennifer Yeh said.

With only four courts here, holding practices has become a struggle. Both the boys and girls have to play on these courts so there are time restrictions. While one of the teams is allowed to go up to the Frost courts when the other team has the Wootton courts, the Frost courts also have only four good courts. With 14 kids on the team, not everyone plays the whole time.

Senior Angela Wu qualified for singles in regionals last year while sophmores Annie Dong and Ellie Esterowitz qualified as a doubles team for regionals. Wu was upset in the early rounds but teammates Dong and Esterowitz played strong and came out with first place. Dong and Esterowitz went on to play at states after winning a brutal and hard five matches.

The team lost one key starter from last year but are looking past that. They have filled all of the missing spots from last year and are looking to thrive. Their first match will be on March, 22.

The team has been very consistent throughout past couple years in their performances. They have won their division almost every year for the past 10 years, and have made it states very consistently. “Hopefully we can build on the performances that we had last year, but I think that we have a really good chance of going far this year come playoff time,” Yeh said.