The tennis team played their first Central Coast Section (CCS) match coming out with a decisive victory on Nov. 6. Each player won their respective games and propelled the team to the next round of CCS.
Despite facing issues in handling high-stress matches and their subsequent tie-break ends, Paly’s varsity girls tennis team has remained determined and focused in competition and on improving in hopes of being seeded for CCS championships at the end of the season.
In the last few weeks the team has participated in four matches, winning against their competitors in two out of the four. The team played and lost to Monta Vista High School on Oct. 16 with a score of 4-3, but won their next match on Oct. 18 against Los Altos High school with a final score of 5-2.
On Oct. 24 the team beat crosstown rival Gunn High School with a score of 4-3, but unfortunately fell to Cupertino High school on Oct. 25 with a score of 4-3. According to varsity tennis player Jackie Galbraith, a junior at Paly, the team’s goal in the last week of the season is mainly to focus on maintaining their solid foundation as a team, hoping only to refine their ability to keep a competitive edge in unusually tough or stressful matches.
“One thing we’ve been spending a lot of time on is getting used to the pressure that we normally have during tiebreakers. Our coach has given us a lot drills designed to help us become more comfortable playing [for] points under a lot of pressure.”
Tiebreaks are especially nerve-racking for the team, according to Galbraith, as they are a common end to their matches but are very high-stakes situations in which a small mistake could cost the match.
“Tiebreakers are crucial in our tennis matches, and in a tiebreaker you only play to 10 points, so every point counts.”
Overall, Galbraith said the team has gotten noticeably better since the start of the season. She credits this gradual success on tiebreaks, citing the team’s focus on improving them.
“Our coach started to keep track of our overall tiebreaker score throughout September. and by the end of month, we had lost about 20 tiebreakers and won five, but by the end of October, we had only lost about 10 and won five,” Galbraith said.
Though coaching tactics proved helpful in advancing the team, Galbraith also attributed the team’s success through the season to the players’ efforts to become tighter knit and form a stronger team.
“Another thing that helped our team’s overall performance were team building activities,” Galbraith said. “We met up twice aside from tennis, once at Gott’s where we all went to dinner together, and once at lunch where we all dressed similarly and ate together.”
Galbraith said, “I think that coming together as a team really helped players become more confident with their standing in the team and ultimately helped them to feel more comfortable around everyone.”