The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

Girls’ tennis gears up for start of league play

Printed with permission of Darlene Bible
DOUBLE TROUBLE: Keisari Penman ’27 and Mimi Rhee ’25 discuss strategy in between sets against Westlake High School on Sept. 13.

Last season, the girls’ tennis team went 15-3 overall and 7-1 in the Mission League with a trip to the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) semifinal. They started their 2023-2024 season 2-2 with a 13-5 win against Brentwood Aug. 28 and 14-4 win at Calabasas Sept. 12.

Girls Tennis Program Head Jelena Durisic is entering her seventh year coaching at the school. Durisic said she is happy about the team’s offseason work and is looking forward to this year.

“This season is a brand new one with many new players coming in,” Durisic said. “I like how the returning players have welcomed them and are focusing on having a great team dynamic. A lot of them put in hard work in the off-season and improved.”

In the team’s loss to Mater Dei on Aug. 29, Sunny Lu ’25 beat two of their top three players. The team swept singles in the Calabasas match, going 9-0 with wins from Emily Stutsman ’26, Joya Roy ’26 and Alli Firtel ’27. As six of the 15 Varsity players are underclassmen, Mimi Rhee ’25 said she hopes to have a strong relationship with her younger teammates.

“I see a whole shift in perspective because there’s a lot of underclassmen this year,” Rhee said. “I feel like I have to guide them more and hope to be just like the seniors who took me under their wings when I joined.”

Aryadini Diggavi ’25 joined the varsity squad this year as a junior. Diggavi said she is looking forward to the doubles team groupings this year which need to be carefully decided.

“You have to know each other and both of your playing styles really well,” Diggavi said. “Knowing what each other’s strengths [and] weaknesses [are] and being able to communicate really well is so important. You can’t be scared to give your partner constructive criticism.”

Heading into the season, some upperclassmen are focused on recruitment to play at the collegiate level. Lu said it is crucial this season for her to improve her game and ensure that she is heading into it with a new perspective on what needs her focus.

“I feel like I used to only focus on trying to improve my weaknesses and forgot about maintaining or even improving my strengths,” Lu said. “My goal is to focus on improving my strengths that will allow me to dictate on the court.”

The team will begin league play the week of Sept. 18.

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Eden Conner, Assistant Opinion Editor

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