Girls’ varsity tennis is looking forward to a good season this year and focusing on two goals: to improve its record from last year and to make it into Central Coast Section (CCS).
This year’s team captains are juniors Aashli Budhiraja and Felicia Wang and seniors Tiffany Nguyen and Sammy Solomon.
The tennis team went to a tournament in Santa Catalina for the weekend of Sept. 15 to 16 and played well according to coach Andy Harader.
“[Santa Catalina] went well,” Harader said. “Aashli Budhiraja and Felicia Wang weren’t there so it gave other girls a chance to play.”
Paly also hosted an invitational tournament Sept. 8 and 9 and finished in second place.
“The team will do better than last year,” Harader said. “We already are beating our record [from last season].”
On Aug. 30, the girls beat Aragon High School 4-3, an opponent they had lost to the past few occasions they played.
“Our big game was definitely Aragon,” Budhiraja said. “That was kind of our measure on how we’re going to do this year.”
This year there are two underclassmen playing on the varsity team: sophomore Madeline Lee and freshman Kelsey Wang, the younger sister of captain Felicia Wang.
Only one senior left last year so the team is essentially the same.
Both the coach and players have high hopes for this year, and Wang believes that the team is already looking better than it did before.
“We have improved a lot, since many players have practiced over the summer,” Wang said. “[Harader] has been the coach for Paly’s girls and boys teams for several years, so he is very experienced.”
The team has also improved due to Budhiraja’s training over the summer.
She is now a team captain and has been playing on varsity since freshman year.
“Our number one singles player [Aashli Budhiraja] has improved tremendously, physically and mentally,” Wang said. “We are often in need of one more match to win, so with the help of [Budhiraja], we [can] beat schools such as homestead and Aragon that we lost to last year.”
Paly had a match against Sacred Heart Sept. 19 and beat them 5-2, after losing to them last year.
The team members are also excited to play Saratoga High School again because they lost 1-6 in close matches against Saratoga on Sept. 11.
They will have a chance to redeem themselves Oct. 4 when they play Saratoga again.
On Sept. 20 they lost 3-4 to Los Altos High School.
“It was a really close match,” Solomon said. “We can definitely beat Los Altos the next time we play them.”
The biggest upcoming matches are against Los Altos High School, on Sept. 20, Lynbrook on Sept. 27 and Monta Vista on Oct. 2.
“[Paly’s tennis] league is very tough,” Harader said. “It is nicknamed the ‘super league’ because it has very competitive teams.”
Overall, the team is prepared for this season and aspiring to make it to CCS, a goal they fell short of last year, but Budhiraja knows this goal can be accomplished with this team.
Talent may be one of the most prominent aspects of the team, however, players are also putting in a great deal of time training.
“The team looks great,” Budhiraja said. “A lot better than last year.”