Young team is off to a great start
SEPT. 6, BLAZER COURTS—
A 6-1 pummeling of Division III Springbrook Blue Devils marked a strong first step for a young girls' tennis team. It was the first game for the relatively young team but will be followed by a more difficult match against Magruder's Division I squad.
Blair won six matches to take a dominating early lead, with only one loss by first singles player junior Bonnie Ding. The hour and a half match had the Blair squad on the edge of their seats, supporting their teammate till the end. They decided that no matter whether Ding won or lost, they would give her a group hug after the grueling match.
Third singles junior Jasleen Salwan won 6-0 on both sets while fourth singles senior Jess Cutler and third doubles freshmen Sarah Tran and Tiffany Chang only lost one point each. Second singles junior Priyanka Gokhale beat her opponent, Grace Hahm, 6-2, 6-1 while junior Amy Li and freshman Deepa Chellapa trounced their opponents 6-2, 6-0 and second doubles junior Dawn Brimmer and freshman Elissa Shiau finished with 6-1, 6-1.
The presence of former Blair tennis stars from the class of 2006, Jahnavi Bhaskar, Margot Pass and Janice No, added to the team spirit. Pass and Bhaskar brought food and spent time talking to their old coach and energizing their old teammates with encouraging chants. Their old teammates' faces could be seen lighting up halfway across the court with each cheer directed at them. Pass and Bhaskar later led a postgame meeting and cheer.
The team celebrated as Li and Chellapa finished their match, one of the last in the meet, with an ace by Li. Pass and Bhaskar marveled at Salwan's heated match against Springbrook's Paula-Victoria Deguzman. Plays between Salwan and Deguzman seemed to continue indefinitely, Pass noted, exclaiming that they hadn't stopped for ten minutes. Gokhale delivered a similarly strong performance, winning cheers from her former teammates for her strong serves.
Although Ding lost, her match was nonetheless riveting to all that watched. Hers was by far the most evenly matched and proved to be the most captivating. The score ended 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 and 7-4, after Ding and her opponent, Victorine Ngong, went into a tie-breaker set.
The current girls' squad represents a surprisingly young team, says Coach David Ngbea. The team lost many starters, including Bhaskar, Pass and No, and saw seven new faces. Only three starters returned from last year. Nonetheless, Ngbea was very happy with the way the team came together. "It was a great start," he said. "We are a very young team. For them to have hung in, it's great."
Most of the squad agreed that they had come together. "My doubles partner and I hadn't played together before, but we meshed." said junior Dawn Brimmer. "It was as if we'd been playing together for years."
The next match for girls' tennis is at 3:30 at Magruder on September 8.
Amanda Pollak. More »