Girls’ Tennis Wraps Up Successful Season


Ava Tafreshi

Sunanditha Vempati (12) glances across the court, reading what her opponent will do next.

On October 17, Irvington Girls’ Tennis finished off a successful season with a win against James Logan, earning a 10-4 record. 

The season started off a little rough since the team had just come back from a lengthy summer break. “To be in match shape is different than just going out and hitting a little social tennis,” Coach Barry Poole explained. “In a match, I got to be thinking about what I’m trying to do and how I want to challenge my points. It takes a while especially coming off the summer for people to get into that mindset.”

Other difficulties at the beginning of the season included losing the team’s number one player, Christine Chang (10), to an ankle injury. “I would have loved to have had her,” Poole lamented, “and it kind of changed how the lineup was. I’m hoping that I got her for a full season next season.” Other players were also out due to cases of flu and other illnesses. 

Despite some of these starting issues, the team got into full swing as the tennis season moved on. Team captain Shriya Bhutani said, “The highlight of the season was beating Logan, that was really fun.” Bolstered by this and other victories, the team ultimately finished 3rd in the Mission Valley Athletic League.

Of course, any season is more than just a record. “The team dynamics were really good,” said Diya Vacin (9). “The seniors made it really welcoming when we first started.”

“The seniors just picked out a freshman and were like, ‘I like you,’” Chang elaborated. “And so they claimed a freshman as their own. That was adorable.”

For the seniors on the team, this year holds special significance. Bhutani said, “I think this season meant a lot to me and other seniors because this is our last season and we were putting everything into it, and in general we had more bonding going on. In particular, our senior night game was really fun because most of us won that one and it was a hard match.” 

Coach Poole and the players are already thinking ahead for next season. One of Poole’s priorities is reading the opponents. He explains, “You got to know what your opponent likes to do, what they don’t like to do, make them hit what they don’t like, keep away from what they do like.” 

On the other hand, Chang offers a perspective on the composition of the team going forward: “Next year, it’s going to hit hard when we have around 10 seniors leaving.” However, she remains optimistic about the up-and-coming players in JV. “At one of the matches, you could watch some of the freshmen and the JV and you could see this fight in their faces. They were pulling off shots; they were running after everything. Coach was standing there and he was also in awe of how far they’ve come over half a season.”