Depth and skill of fellow Division I squad proves too much
SEPT. 19, BLAZER COURTS—
The girls' tennis team lost 0-7 to Churchill, dropping their record to 2-3.
The game started well enough, with strong shows by first and second singles players, juniors Bonnie Ding and Priyanka Gokhale. However, their play was inevitably no match for their faster and stronger Churchill opponents and they lost 0-6, 0-6 and 1-6, 0-6, respectively.
Ding's perfect, short returns that barely cleared the net often caught opponent Liz Kaufman off guard in the beginning of the match but as the game progressed, Kaufman's short hits foiled Ding's efforts.
Nonetheless, Coach David Ngbea believes Ding had her best game yet. He was happy with her strong swings and attributes her loss merely to the skill of her opponent. "The score," he said, "is not indicative."
Likewise, at third singles, junior Jasleen Salwan maintained strong play with a good balance of agility and well-placed long hits, but ultimately lost 0-6, 0-6. Senior captain Jessica Cutler, at fourth singles, played with heart and boasted the highest score on the Blair squad — 2-6, 2-6. She emerged from the court after almost an hour and a half, covered in sweat.
At first doubles, junior Amy Li and freshman Deepa Chellappa suffered a frustrating loss, failing to win a single match. Churchill's speed and strength coupled with multiple errors led to a dominating performance.
Third doubles freshmen Sarah Tran and Tiffany Chang suffered the same fate — and score.
Second doubles junior Dawn Brimmer and freshman Elissa Shiau finished their match 1-6, 1-6.
Ngbea feels the loss was inevitable. "Tennis," he said, "is a game of skill levels." He classifies players as beginning, intermediate and advanced. Many on the Blair squad, he said, are beginners. "We have many young players," he said. "For many of them, it's the first time playing competitive."
He sees many on the Churchill team as advanced and doesn't feel Blair had a chance. "It's like me going against Agassi," he said. "I'd lose no matter how much I want to win."
The girls' tennis squad currently plays in Division I. However, both of its victories have been against lower division teams. It opened by defeating Division III Springbrook and destroyed Division II Paint Branch two matches later. Unfortunately, Churchill is the third Division I team to soundly beat Blair. With the loss, Blair's chances of remaining in Division I look bleaker and bleaker.
However, as far as Coach Ngbea is concerned, the team still played well, with winning attitudes. "Whether they win or lose, they're always covering the court with a smile. They walked off the court holding their heads up," he said. "There may not be a mark in the win column," he said. "But they don't give up, and that attitude can take them to the next level."
The next girls' tennis match is next Tuesday at 3:30.
Amanda Pollak. More »