Boys tennis begins season on good note

Team recovers from loss of key upperclassmen and seeks to stabilize team dynamic

Palo Alto High School’s Boys Tennis team kicked off their season with a 5-2 win against Sacred Heart Preparatory High School on Feb. 25 and has been playing solidly through March. Currently at 8-3 in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League (SCVAL) De Anza Division, the team is looking to continue winning and improving this season.

“Overall, tennis is going great,” sophomore Henry Badger said. “We have some very good players, and we had some great wins.”

Currently, the team has five sophomores on its 13-man roster, an unusual number of underclassmen at the varsity level.

“We lost seven seniors from last year so we are suffering [with] depth of our team,” sophomore Adrian Smith said.

Smith, who played on the varsity team last year as a freshman, said that the season is going a bit slow so far.

The highlight of our season was our trip to Fresno for the California Tennis Classic,” Smith said.  “We won the Division Three Bracket.”

Other high points of the season include a 6-1 rout of Los Altos High School and a clutch 4-3 defeat of Aragon High School at home. Unfortunately, the squad was tested after a 7-0 shutout loss at Henry M. Gunn High School.

“We have had some great wins, but we have been losing as well,” Badger said. “We’ve been learning from our losses and improving as a team.”

With a young team, Badger believes that there needs to be deeper personal connections in order for the team to do well for the duration of the season.

“Personally, my favorite part of the season so far is how much we’ve bonded as a team,” Kevin “Bench” Chen said. “We have great nicknames and that really boosts team moral.”

Chen, along with Badger, Smith, Noah “Slaps” Galper and Dylan “Parrot” Polley, comprise the “sophomore dream team,” a nickname given to the underclassmen

“We’re pretty young but we’re pretty raw, ” Polley said.

Among the sophomores, there are a few veteran leaders such as Junior Shiv “Twister” Matta, who is returning for his second varsity year, and his first year as varsity singles one.

“Playing number one singles is always great, as it improves your game and makes you more athletic on the court,” Matta said.

Currently, Matta has won four out of his seven singles matches and is team co captain along with Kevin Huang.

These veterans provide a stable anchor for the squad, a much needed anchor to have on such a young team. With several matches coming soon, the tennis team hopes to continue winning and continue polishing its team dynamic.

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