The pre-season play-off

Sarah Menendez

Sharon Kim

For the second game of the new school year, the Girls’ Varsity Tennis Team defended their home-court from the Mayfair Monsoons 14-4 on Tuesday, September 14.

The atmosphere was far from tense throughout the duration of the match. Singles player Irene Saavedra could be seen absentmindedly defeating her opponent 6-3, and doubles team Claudia Guzman and Rosanna Calderon speedily finished their first game with a score of 6-2.

“Alright, guys, this is our first game at home, so we have to win,” doubles player Jocelyne Martinez said.

The lady Vikes were, however, taking the game quite seriously. It was simply that the burden of being league champs and CIF contenders was not resting on their heads yet. Although there is little to lose, pre-season is still a valuable part of the girls’ tennis experience.

“It’s important to get practice and have confidence during pre-season before the season starts,” third-seed doubles player Caroline Tran said.

These “prep” games give the ladies opportunities to train and acclimate to the pressure of having to perform. This practice is much-needed, as the competition in the girls’ league has become exponentially more difficult than that of previous years. The lady Vikings will once again have to reckon with the Paramount Pirates, who narrowly bested the girls in their quest for league championship and CIF last year. The much-anticipated Warren rivals have also risen to great heights this past summer, with two tennis prodigies threatening the Viking singles division’s steady influx of victories. With such formidable opponents, the players must take advantage of every pre-season match that they can get.

The tennis ladies seem up to the challenge, however as singles player Sandra Lee calmly rallied against an obviously weaker opponent, taking the opportunity to practice her consistency and underhand slices. The doubles team of Janette Rico and Katie Medina similarly took advantage of the Monsoons by reaching for riskier volleys and overheads. Both Lee and partners Rico and Medina won all three of their sets with scores less than 6-3.

The girls stole more and more points from the scoreboard. Finally, with Guzman and Calderon’s final victory of 6-3, Mayfair was defeated. The lady Vikes continued to perform strongly throughout the week. The girls narrowly lost 76-85 in a set points tally against Millikan after tying 9-9, and bested Bellflower 12-6 the following day.

The next week, the lady Vikes made an amazing comeback after seven losses against Santa Fe and won with a score of 10-8. Sandra Lee saved her team from a potentially devastating set points tally by winning her last game.

Finally, the long-awaited first season game on September 24 rolled around and began the ladies’ race to league with a bang. The girls triumphed against Gahr 13-5, and singles player Jennifer Cho won her first game of the year 6-3. With one of the four schools out of the way, the team must now concentrate on beating some of the toughest competition they will ever have on the road to San Gabriel league champs