Girls’ Tennis Wraps Up Pre-Season

Girls’ tennis (1-3-0) lost 4-14 against Santa Margarita High at Portola High on Feb. 26. Three out of the four wins were made by junior and team captain Saachi Pavani and sophomore Prisha Rapur’s doubles duo. This marks the last of four pre-season matches, to be followed by 12 league matches that began on March 1.

“Tensions were a little bit high against Santa Margarita,” Pavani said. “We try to play schools within our division during pre-season to get a feel of where we stand. And now we’re just giving it our best and hoping that the rest of the season goes well.”

After winning the 2020 CIF Division 3 championship, girls’ tennis moved up to Division 1 for the 2020-21 season. The season, including the match against Santa Margarita, is anticipated to have much tougher competition than the years before, according to head tennis coach Natasha Schottland.

“I always tell my players, ‘You should be playing with the will to win,’” Schottland said. “You’re trying to win the court, win for yourself and for your team. We want to represent the school to the best of our ability.”

Tennis is among several outdoor sports that has resumed close-to-regular play. Spectators are not allowed on the courts, and masks are required for doubles plays, but the minimal player contact characteristic puts tennis among the most COVID-friendly sports.

“The good thing about tennis is that you’re basically 50 feet apart, and it’s a no-contact sport,” Pavani said. “We’re very fortunate to have a sense of normalcy in our season, and hopefully if we keep up with the precautions we’ll be able to have a full season with playoffs.”

Limited contact has taken a toll on the team bonding aspects, but players still maintain close relationships with one another built on their interaction from years before. Players relieve the tension of matches with one another’s support and company.

“I constantly remind myself to be competitive, bring your best, but also find a balance,” sophomore Bella Chhiv said. “Be representative of who you are and remember who you’re playing for.”