By Lizzy Thomas
Starting with tomorrow’s match against Marlborough, girls’ tennis looks to break a habit that has become familiar to them – smashing success in the Mission League tempered by speedy exits from CIF playoffs.
The end of last year’s season – a Mission League championship in team, singles, and doubles, but a loss in CIF quarterfinals – was nothing new for the team, which has won the Mission League every year since 2000 except for 2007. Despite this, the team has failed to advance past CIF quarterfinals since 2001.
“I think we’ll be able to match last year’s finish, winning league and making it to the quarterfinals of Division I,” Head Coach Chris Simpson said. “It’s kind of been a pattern because when you’re ranked six or nine, you come up against the three or four seed by the quarterfinals.”
The team graduated four seniors last year, a relatively low number taking into account that one of the four was Kei Goldberg ’12, a captain who was sidelined most of the season by a shoulder injury.
The team will be relatively young, with four freshmen and two sophomores.
“I think it’s one of our strengths that we have a younger team and our team is going to be stronger than it was last year. I definitely think we have the potential to make it to the [CIF] semis or, who knows, even further,” Savannah de Montesquiou ’13 said.
Co-captain de Montesquiou, who was last year’s Mission League singles champion, now enters the year ranked 178 in the country. De Montesquiou played often this summer, competing almost every day in July.
Kristina Park ’13, who won the doubles Mission League championship with Taylor Coon ’12 last year, and Samantha Maccabee ’13 are the team’s other two co-captains.
“Our team is going to be a lot better this year. All of the new players we’re getting are really good players. We should be able to do really well this year,” said Park.
The key stretch of the season will come in late October right before the postseason as the team takes on Palos Verdes and Thousand Oaks, teams Simpson says are likely to be close in rank to them.
The team lost last year in their sole match against Palos Verdes and did not play Thousand Oaks.
Positive results could position the team well for the CIF tournament.
“I think just in general, tennis is a very mental game and everyone on the team, myself included, think we can all work on just kind of really understanding what it takes to pull out that game or hold your serve,” de Montesquiou said. “I would say overall, the mental part of the game is what we can all work on the most.”