SCVAL loss leads to league drop for tennis

After a grueling season, Palo Alto High School’s girls tennis team ended its run on a bitter note.  Despite moving from the regular season into the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League (SCVAL) playoff pool, the Vikings eventually lost in their second round of matches to Monta Vista High School.

The match was disappointing, with the Vikings losing 2-5 to the Monta Vista Matadors. Isa Castillo and doubles pair Kelsey Wang and Avanika Narayan were the only two parties to win their games. The remaining five singles and doubles fell by wide margins.

Throughout their season, the Lady Vikes faced a multitude of obstacles that handicapped their cohesiveness. Halfway through the season, junior Alice Zhang broke her arm, breaking up her doubles team with senior Kelsey Wang.  A singles player was suspended for half of the season, and another was placed on academic probation, consequently handicapping the team’s already-limited roster.  One player from the junior varsity team was pulled up to fill the gaps in the varsity roster, further regressing the group’s close-knit chemistry.

Currently, the team is seeded in the highest branch in SCVAL; however, next season, they will fall to the El Camino league due to a three-way tie for last place in the De Anza league.

Paly was unfortunately one of the two teams that had to drop from the division.

“We’ve had a pretty tough season this year,” Zhang said.  “I think dropping a league next year will let us focus on developing our skills and our game strategies.”

The team also expects the 2016 season to be an opportunity for the team’s growth as a whole.  With three seniors graduating this year, the rest of the players will need to collectively step up to take their places on the roster.  Zhang, however, is undeterred by the challenges ahead.

“We’ll all support each other and take on leadership roles,” Zhang said.  “We’ll do what we have to do to have a great season.”