Girls Tennis takes home win in first tournament

Sweat rolls down her cheek as she bounces the ball up and down. She feels exhausted with the heat of the sun beating down on her. She throws the fluorescent green ball over her head and hits it with all her power, and ace, the match is over! The crowd gets up on their feet and cheers loudly.

This year the Girls Tennis team had their first tournament in program history. On Sept. 8-9, the team traveled to Fresno, California to play in the California Tennis Classic.

Leading up to the California Tennis Classic, the girls played three out-of-league games against La Reina, Camarillo and Taft.

In the first game of the season, the Panthers squared off against La Reina where they won 13-5. Britney Jennings and Angelina Powers swept their three sets in the doubles match. However, in their next game against Camarillo, the team struggled, losing 6-12. After the loss to Camarillo, the girls turned it around with a huge 15-0 sweep over Taft. The girls dominated, giving them confidence going into their tournament.

William Mulligan, head coach, has been helping the girls to improve throughout the summer. According to Mulligan, they have been working on  “volleys,” or a shot in tennis where the player hits the ball at the net before it bounces. During this tournament, 12 players played  in five matches in two days. The goal for the tournament was  to get “match experience,” Mulligan said.

The tournament began on Friday, Sept. 8 where the girls played Emmanuel High School, Reedley High School and Los Banos High School. These three teams were in their heat and the girls beat all of them. By winning, they were able to advance to the semi final where they squared off with Liberty High School.

In the match against Liberty, the girls were tied in their sets 3-3, but the girls pulled it out winning the number of games 60-56. Angelina Powers, junior, said one of the key factors in being victorious in the match was having more spirit than Liberty.

“The team has never felt closer when we were watching each other play out the sets. We needed to make sure we could out-root Liberty with spirit. All games were really close and in the beginning it seemed like we achieved the title after the total add up,” Powers said.

This tight match against Liberty gave the team a big morale boost. Amiya Prasad, junior, believed the team had a lot of success, “because we were determined to make the most out of our first tournament and prove that we are more than capable at pulling through.”

In the championship game, the tennis team finished the tournament strong by defeating Vacaville High School. The score of the sets was 5-1 in favor of Newbury Park. However, since the tournament was set up in a different style than the normal games that the girls play, it had been difficult in the beginning to adapt to the change in play.

Britney Jennings, senior, believed the toughest part of the tournament was, “Being placed into positions that people weren’t used to playing. For example some of the girls on our team that usually play doubles were put in matches where they had to play singles.”

Throughout all of the games the girls played strong and did not give up. They were in Division 4 out of seven for the tournament and came out victorious against all of their competition in their first ever tournament.

The girls took more away from this tournament than just winning. Powers says she enjoyed “team bonding and playing against such a variety of players with a range of techniques.” The tournament and being out of town gave the girls a way to bond more with each other, which could help them later in the season.

After this tournament, the girls goals for the season are to, “Win league and beat Calabasas and Oaks Christian who have always been tough competition in the past. But also I would like to see everyone improve in tennis both physically and mentally,” Jennings said.



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