Foothill’s girls’ tennis team came out of their first league game triumphantly, outscoring their opponents, the La Reina Regents 11-7 on Sep. 19. Their record currently sits at a shining 5-0.
Having lost to La Reina in a 9-9 set tie (in which individual games have to be counted to determine the overall winner) on two separate occasions last year, Foothill came into the match determined to keep history from repeating itself. Both teams began their first round sets with high intensity. The scores at each court remained relatively close as each competitor faced an opponent of similar ability. But as Foothill pushed ahead and won the first set on four out of the six courts, the scene was set for success in the succeeding rounds, and the Dragons clinched a victory.
Foothill’s number one singles player, Erin Gaynor ‘19, battled with La Reina’s number one singles player, Tiara Nourishad, in a set replete with long rallies consisting of powerful ground strokes from both sides of the court. Gaynor kept the score close throughout the set, but after a quarrel over the score and a few small mistakes, she ended up falling to her opponent with a final score of 4-6. Gaynor, however, took care of business in her next two sets, earning two team points for the Dragons, with set scores of 6-1 and 6-0.
Meanwhile, Sherilyn Khouvilay ‘18 and Alyssa McClain ‘18 competed against the opposing number one doubles team. They wasted no time in sealing the win, setting themselves up for yet another sweep. According to coach Brad McClain, the dynamic duo has “swept all year so far.”
“They’re playing good solid tennis, and that’s all I ask,” McClain said.
Doubles team Olga Qoshlli ‘21 and Jolie Seemayer ‘21 didn’t disappoint either. They excelled in two of their sets, winning 6-4 and 6-1, and lost only to the number one La Reina doubles team. While their technique was solid, their enthusiasm and camaraderie are what set them apart. The two supported each other with words of encouragement and high-fives throughout all three of their sets.
Singles players Noelle Hayward ‘21 and Enkela Qoshlli ‘18 each contributed two points to the Dragons’ overall score. Hayward crushed her first and third opponents, but like Gaynor, she failed to defeat Nourishad despite the fact that she performed well. Qoshlli dominated her first two challengers 6-0 and 6-3. Isabella Silva ‘18 stepped in for Qoshlli to face Nourishad, but suffered a tough 0-6 loss.
Though La Reina’s top player swept, the Dragons had more depth. Coach McClain remarked, “La Reina had a very good number one player […] but we took care of business against their two and three.” He was “very pleased with the team” and the only thing he felt his team needed to improve is knowing to contact him when “they don’t like the calls they’re getting” from their opponents rather than ignoring it.
The Foothill Dragons set the bar high for the rest of league with this first win, bringing them one step closer to earning a spot in the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) playoffs.