Girls Tennis Defeats Laguna Hills


Andy Zhang

Girls tennis player serving the ball.

Maya Berger, Staff Writer

The UHS Varsity Girls Tennis team scored their tenth league win on Tuesday, Oct. 11, against Laguna Hills, with a final score of 18-0, and maintained the team’s current first-place standing in the Pacific Coast League with a record of 10-0. 

Going into the competition, the team knew this match against Laguna Hills would be relatively easier compared to matches against other schools. Coach John Kessler explained that UHS’ two star players, senior Meleana Helu and sophomore Alina Yu, were instructed not to play this match because there was no need for potential injuries. 

The rest of the players were directed to reserve their energy for future challenges. A key intention throughout the match was to avoid performing at Laguna Hills’ pace. 

“Knowing that consistency was the key to winning the match, we worked on hitting with racket speed to keep the balls within the court,” senior captain Anna Slavuk said. “Slowing down the racket and our footwork would’ve given them leeway to play a long and frustrating game. We avoided that.” 

The Trojans played at the same pace they would against a more challenging team, which allowed the team to keep a strong rhythm throughout their matches. 

“I think we went into the match with the expectation that we would win; however, that didn’t mean that [we] weren’t going to put [in] any less work,” freshman Gidget Smith said. 

Since this match was not as challenging for the UHS team compared to other matches, Smith explained that she experimented with new things she would not do against a stronger team. 

“I think with weaker opponents I try to poach at the net more,” Smith said. “I also try to set up my net girl as much as possible to practice with things like placement, etc.” 

Smith’s doubles partner, Donya Zamani, reflects on her performance as well from this match. 

“Sometimes during the match when the shot was coming slowly, I would [overthink] too much [and] then miss [the ball],” Zamani said. 

Zamani explained that because of the low energy given by the Laguna Hills team, it was harder to play without matching their low energy. 

Junior Ava Bocek also expressed her feelings toward her singles performance throughout the match. 

“Some takeaways I [have] to say I noticed a lot in my match, was that I don’t need to attack the ball on the first shot,” Bocek said. “That’s how I managed [to lose] a few minor points because I would put too much power [and] then it would end up going out [or] in the net.”