Girls’ Tennis Reaches their Third Straight CIF final

Luke Curtis, Staff Writer 

Girls’ Tennis extended their perfect season by achieving a victory against Harvard Westlake, winning 13-5.

Despite their success thus far, the team maintained a humble approach to the game

in a dedicated attempt to come out victorious. This ability to stay grounded contributed to their success early in their match.

“We had no expectations in the beginning of the match because that’s how we always start off. I think it’s so important to never get our confidence too high or expect any wins before we play them. We did start off our first round, winning all six singles and doubles but we remembered to focus on every game so that we don’t get carried away,” senior captain Yui Hashiyada said. 

The team has been proud of their dedication to their daily conditioning on the court. This has paid off with immediate dividends such as their placement as number one in the playoffs and CIF final berth have reflected.

“We were very proud to be going into CIF finals as an undefeated team. We have the skill and hard work which has paid off throughout this entire season,” Hashiyada said.

With five days to prepare for the semifinals, the team was able to regroup and focus on this aforementioned training. This success thus far has not fazed the girls from training with the intent of staying consistent and continuing to develop better execution on their ball skills.

“What was emphasized in training was that we needed to ensure that all our shots were consistent and match ready for the semifinal,” number one doubles partner and junior Emily Markus said. “Everyone had to be prepared to play. This mindset definitely brought a better level of play and everyone worked hard. We all helped each other prepare so we could play better.”

In order to continue to excel in their development on the court, the guidance of head coach John Kessler has proven to be valuable, as the players are able to magnify all aspects of themselves, from their character off the court, to their on court skills. Furthermore, this constructive process has ushered in a positive feedback system that has stimulated an environment in which players not only obtain help from coaches, but reach out to their teammates in order to improve their game.

“They [the coaches] encourage us to improve upon our strengths, as well as our weaknesses. The friendships allow us to enjoy being a part of this phenomenal team. They help us play better on the court because we are playing in a comfortable, healthy environment where everyone helps each other improve their game. We are surrounded by people who we trust, help us, and who make us smile along the way, ” number one doubles partner Mya Wang said.

The girls possess a love for tennis which has helped them continue to push themselves to be successful on the hard court.

“Passion has definitely been a huge motivator to get us through to the finals. It pushed us to train hard in practice and stay committed in matches when the going gets tough. It has made a huge impact with our success as a team,” Markus said.

Overall the bond that the team has made throughout the twenty games thus far has helped them stay strong in the midst of adversity. It has further raised the team’s confidence level and strengthened their trust among each other.

“Our team dynamic has let us support each other through our struggles on and off the court. It has let us boost our confidence going into the semifinals, and now the final this week,” junior Natalia Tobon said. “I’m really proud of our team’s commitment to excellence, it’s shown up in the coaching, willingness to help each other, and overall support. We’re one win away from making UNI history, this is our moment.”

The girls end their season playing against Peninsula at the Claremont Club for the title of CIF Southern Section Champion.