Girls’ tennis: Falcons trying to take flight in early season

September 25, 2018 — by Amanda Zhu and Angelina Chen

No. 1 doubles player Juhi Patel stood, knees bent, eyes following the ball that would ultimately be the difference between a victory or a loss against Palo Alto High on Sept. 21. Patel and her partner, senior Divya Aggarwal, played a tiebreaker round in hopes of prevailing against their opponents. As the ball came over the net, Patel volleyed the ball back, making it impossible for her opponents to return the shot, ending the game with a 4-3 victory.

Other than this league victory, they have dropped two other matches as of Sept. 25: a 4-3 loss to Los Altos on Sept. 18 and 6-1 drubbing at the hands of Monta Vista on Sept. 13.

One reason for the losses has been a leg injury to the No. 1 singles player, junior Monica Stratakos. At the same time, new team members like Aindri Patra and Sanya Kwatra are adjusting to their new roles on the varsity team.

For her part, Aggarwal said the team’s goal this year is simply to do better than they did last year and make it further in CCS. Last year, the team made it to the semifinals of CCS, where they were defeated by Saint Francis.

The players all play outside of their regular school practices, which prepares them for the matches. Although the team is already strong, Aggarwal thinks individuals still need to dedicate more time to attending matches.

According to Aggarwal, many members on the team are busy, so they are not always completely dedicated to attending matches. This results in the lineup being bumped up, which in turn, leads to a lot of losses. This problem was especially prominent in the Stanford Tournament the team participated in on Sept. 8, where they placed seventh out of 16 schools.

Patel also said that the players are still “getting into the rhythm.” They were off to a strong start as they won both their practice matches against Gunn and Lynbrook in August.

“We’re working hard both in practice and in our own time in hopes of defending our high rank from last year in the de Anza league,” said Patel.

Aggarwal believes the team’s chemistry is good, saying players are keeping up good communication during points and socialize with each other after games, and spend whole days together during tournaments.

“I think we have a really strong team this year,” Aggarwal said. “We have a good chance of getting past where we got last year and moving on.”

Along with Stratakos, several players have been competing as singles: Rini Vasan, Varsha Horantur and Alyssa Pinai. In addition to Patel and Aggarwal on the doubles side, players include Katie Lam, Vivian Lin, Sanya Kwatra and Khiara Berkowitz. They are coached again this year by Florin Marica.

 

Due to printing deadlines, the Falcon was not able to cover the Sept. 25 game against Cupertino and the Sept. 27 game against Homestead.

 

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