Boys tennis overcomes challenges through the season

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Boys tennis overcomes challenges through the season

Nicole Ong

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Different reasons drew the members of the varsity boys tennis team to the sport: a way to get exercise, an aspiration to become a tennis star like Roger Federer or a love for watching the sport. But by the end of the season, all the boys have come together as a team and bonded both as players and friends. This year, the team, led by captains junior Vishal Rao and sophomore Justin So, consisted of 16 players of all grade levels.

“Since a lot of players returned from last year, I think our chemistry as a team grew,” So said. “A lot of the team [this year] was younger, and we had few seniors. There was still more room for the team to become closer.”

Even though many of the team members were familiar with each other, the season did not pass without difficulty. At the end of each season, the best team of the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League’s El Camino Division for boys tennis moves up to the De Anza Division, the stronger of the two divisions. This year, Lynbrook’s varsity boys tennis team moved up to the De Anza Division because of its excellent record the previous year, but this also brought new challenges for this year’s team. Many team members had little experience playing in the upper division, and for some, it was their first time; this necessitated time for adjustment and improvement.

“Since we were in the lower division last year and got moved up to the upper division, it was much harder,” said junior and varsity player Aayush Seth. “Since we were playing against better schools and athletes who are nationally ranked, [this season] consisted of figuring out the balance between playing well and having fun at the same time.”

The team’s struggles were not limited to their newfound position on the upper division. The persistent rain during the season caused practices and matches to be cancelled. As a result, the team often lost practice time, but would then have to play in a match the next day. Missed matches were eventually made up at a later date; this gave players more days off on some weeks, but more matches on others. In some instances, the team played three consecutive matches a week, instead of the typical two matches per week.

Of the 13 matches the team played this season, the team did not win any; however, the struggles it faced have only made it stronger.

“Even if we weren’t winning all the games, we were at least supporting our teammates and staying a little extra for longer games to cheer our teammates on,” Seth said. “This season was more fun than other seasons, not necessarily because we were winning or losing, but rather because we were hanging out with friends, instead of just playing partners.”

The team’s valuable time together has created an unbreakable bond between players. Throughout the season, the team focused on future success and improvement and looked to support each other, regardless of wins or losses.

“[The players] all want to face more challenges in the game,” said varsity boys tennis coach Albert Poon. “Even though they cannot win, they enjoy the game and learn from losing. They all have good sportsmanship in the court. Now, we are focusing the next season. Hopefully, we can move on to the Central Coast Section playoffs next year after we move down to the El Camino Division.”