Girls tennis looks to claim the MCAL throne



Pictured is team: (from left to right) Bottom row: Lola Palladini, Sam Garrriott, Sophia Fugazzotto, Hailey Hagan, Kate Chaplin. Middle Row: Audrey Johnston, Nina Bautista, Justine Mcouat, Molly Skubecz, Gwyn Gordon, Maya Thizner. Top Row: Julia Haag, Claire Johnston, Tyler Peterson, Emma Calderon, Sadie Karpay.

Chris Carlucci , Reporter

Absolute dominance. This was never the initial goal for the girls tennis team, but now, it seems like a real possibility. With strong returning players, the crew seems to have kept their core strength while building with incoming players.

Senior Claire Johnston returns this year and said that along with their success, there is also chemistry within the team.

“Never, in my past three years of playing, have I felt such a strong connection among all of our players,” captain Johnston said. She said that there is no hierarchy within the team, as the bonds and love transcend rank, playing time, and grade.

Along with Johnston, the team boasts strong returning seniors including co-captain Gwyn Gordon, and players Emma Calderon, Molly Skubecz, and Sophie Kupelian.

Playing at the Canon Club in Fairfax during their practices and home matches, the team is never too far away to support.

Younger players positively contributed to the team. Young slammer Audrey Johnston has risen to a comfortable singles position under her senior sister.

After the Johnston singles pair, there is little room for error in the new league format which only includes seven games. In this new, smaller league match format, each game counts tremendously.

But this new challenge has proved to be minimal for the powerhouse program, who after putting down a beating in their first league game against opponents San Rafael, 5-2, have not looked back.

“This year feels different because we could really made an impact in the playoffs,” Johnston said.
Since then, the team has put forward a fluxuating campaign.

“My goals for this year have changed,” said returning coach Tyler Peterson. “After seeing our early success, I’ve really had high hopes going the rest of the way. We have to stay hot to make playoffs, a realistic goal if we stay strong.”

Coach Peterson inspires his players to not only work on physical toughness, but tailor their strong mental game on the court also. His dedication to coach a team filled with integrity and sportsmanship most likely stems from his work as assistant athletic director here.

During practices these ballers work hard on necessary drills, skills, and fundamentals with the help from coach Peterson, and leadership from the team’s captains. They can even be found listening to their coach’s sweet, original country tunes while working on fitness during Friday conditioning practices.

After recent, unfortunate losses to strong programs from Redwood and Tam, Gordon said the team “has a new fire to get some wins in the playoffs.”

The team consensus is that they want more people to come to the matches. Because the slammers play their matches off campus, there is less availability and incentive for many students to attend. But with continued success, the team is hopeful for increased school support.
“This is our year.” both Johnstons said.