Varsity Girls Tennis Takes a Swing at its First Tournament


Shawyan Rooein

Just getting there in time, freshman Saachi Pavani returns a powerful crosscourt shot to win the point.

Shawyan Rooein, Back-Page Editor

Girls tennis competed in its first tournament in Portola’s history at the varsity level, preparing for the competitive season ahead. While competing against schools from across Southern California at the tournament, the Bulldogs held a record of 1-4 beating Capistrano Valley High; but falling to schools such as Yorba Linda, Westview, Mater Dei and Redlands high schools.

“The biggest challenge in the tournament was experiencing what high level tennis looks like. We faced several D1 schools (like Mater Dei) who were extremely strong, confident on court and had several seniors in their lineup. Our challenge is to understand that you don’t necessarily need to be the strongest player out there but you need to be strategic about certain things…I think that if the girls can recognize these challenges and work on them in practice, that is how the team can improve,” head varsity coach Natasha Schottland said.

Despite the tough competition they faced during the tournament, the girls were excited to compete against high level teams as preparation for the tough league ahead of them. In addition to the competitive nature of the tournament, it tested the team’s stamina as they played over 10 hours within two days with extremely competitive matches against their opponents, including a loss by only one set on the first day to Westview High.

“Tournaments are different than normal league games in that they are much more tiring and you’re out there playing for 6 hours,” varsity team captain Lauren Hwang said. “You definitely need a lot more energy to constantly move and keep your spirit up, but overall it’s a greater team bonding experience as you spend a whole day with your team, [which] reminds me of why I play tennis and how much I enjoy the sport.”

Considering it was their first tournament, especially at the varsity level, the girls said they were happy with their work throughout the tournament.

“Being our first year at the varsity level, we want to establish Portola’s name in girls’ tennis,” freshman Saachi Pavani said. “We’ve showed that Portola girls’ tennis isn’t just any team to be taken lightly.”