Churchill girls' tennis defeats Blair, 6-1
BLAZER TENNIS COURTS, Sept. 21
Heading into the mid-season, girls' tennis is struggling to maintain a competitive element. Following two losses to Wootton and Whitman, the Blazers fell to Churchill 6-1. The close match had numerous deuces, but the Bulldogs won overall. The Bulldogs' strong returns and quick swings secured their victory against the Blazers.
Though Blair lost to Churchill before, Coach David Ngbea stated there was a good chance for Blair to win against the divisional team. Two core Churchill tennis players were absent from the match. "Churchill's number one and number two singles players weren't there. They used alternates. So, I expected to win two singles and two doubles," Ngbea said. "I'm disappointed with the results."
At first singles, junior Shilpa Kannan fought hard against her opponent senior Churchill captain Robyn Baird, playing a long and extended game. Baird gained an advantage early on by swiftly sending back Kannan's serves. Throughout the second set, Kannan stepped up the intensity, keeping the ball in play for many seconds. But in the end, Baird's low and aggressive hits ensured her win, 6-1, 6-3. "Compared to last home game, this was more intense. This was a hard match," Kannan said.
Senior captains Elissa Shiau and Tiffany Chang suffered even more against Churchill's senior captains Maggie Yin and Joanne Liu at first doubles. Shiau and Chang had trouble returning Yin and Liu's volleys. Yin and Liu played aggressively throughout the game with strong forehands, winning 6-1, 6-2. "It was difficult. We didn't keep the ball in play for long. I thought they had very solid returns," Shiau said.
Second doubles featured juniors Ava Wallace and Hannah Ho against Churchill sophomores Jill Tefelbaum and Tanya Bagheri. Ho and Wallace, like Kannan, also faced a long match. The pair had a hard time adjusting to their opponents' aggressive returns. The close game resulted in the Bulldogs' victory, 6-4, 7-5. "We didn't play our best. We could've won. In the beginning, they hit pretty hard serves. I stood farther behind the base line. They were definitely the hardest team we've played so far," Ho said.
Senior captain Sarah Tran stood as the lone Blair victor against Churchill junior Danielle Mandiv. Tran executed smooth volleys and left Mandiv running across the courts to return the ball. Tran won the match 6-1, 6-1.
Churchill coach Ben Woods acknowledged the Blazers' efforts in the match. Though the final score reflected a crushing loss for Blair, the actual match was very tight. "I feel good about the match, but it doesn't reflect how tough it really was. Blair's got a good team here," said Woods.
Coach Ngbea looks forward to instilling more intensity into Blazer's performance. He stated that he hopes the team will be more passionate in future games. "The intensity level isn't as strong as it should be," Ngbea said. Though the Blazers are good at moving around the court, Ngbea plans to make the team practice volleys. "What's plaguing us a lot is volleys. We are not proficient," Ngbea said.
The girls' varsity tennis team will play their next home game on Thursday, Sept. 24 against Walter Johnson at 3:30 p.m.
Editor's note: Ava Wallace is a Silver Chips Online staff writer.
Mandy Xu. More »