Girls Varsity Tennis splits first matches

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Nikita Pande, Staff Writer

The Girls Varsity Tennis (GVT) started off their season with a 3-2 win against Poly Prep Country Day School last Friday and a 1-6 loss against Scarsdale High School this Monday.

Team morale remained high leading up to the game against Poly Prep — the first of the season and the team felt prepared coming out of preseason, Emma Chang (10) said. Their team spirit, dressing up like a country club member, also contributed to improving their mood pre-match. “It really gets you pumped up before [the game] starts,” Chang said. “It was fun going out on the field and taking photos of everyone.”

GVT’s main focus during the match was staying positive regardless of the score, Chang said. “Going in, we weren’t expecting to win or lose, we were just expecting to play our best and do our best to have a good start to the season.”

Even though the matches lasted longer than expected, the team did a great job keeping their spirits high and maintaining an energetic environment throughout the whole evening, Chang said. She and her doubles partner Sammi Strasser (12) were tired towards the end of their match, but their teammates’ energy rubbed off on them and encouraged them to keep playing. It was a close game and came down to a third tiebreaker set, but the Lions won.

One memorable moment from the Poly Prep game was Emmi Odell’s (9) match, Chang said. She lost her first set but won the next two in an exciting comeback, with a 6-1 third set. After the match, GVT Coach Rawlins Troop gave her the gameball, similar to an MVP award, for her performance.

Odell won because of her perseverance, Troop said. She did not force difficult shots, instead focusing on consistently hitting the ball over the net, he said.

Consistency is important when up against difficult opponents, like in Monday’s game. HM and Scarsdale are close competitors, which always makes for interesting games, Troop said. “Scarsdale was loaded with a lot of great players. We play them every year and some years we beat them, and a couple years they beat us.”

Even though Scarsdale won the state championship last year, the Lions kept a positive attitude throughout the matches, Diya Chawla (10) said. “We were all cheering each other on, trying to stay positive, and trying to have as much fun as we could.”

Going forward, the team’s focus for the rest of the season is to encourage one another to continue to improve, Chawla said. “When we practice, we work together a lot and try to make each other better,” she said. “That’s what makes it so fun.”

The team’s close dynamic allows for them to push each other to their best, Chang said. “We each know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and among us, we can give each other helpful constructive criticism and motivation to keep working.”