Girls’ tennis season one of growth and close bonds

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Photo by Yearbook Staff

Senior members of the 2021 girls’ tennis team pose in front of their personalized signs on Senior Night.

By Philip Calabrese, Reporter

The West Chicago Community High School girls’ tennis season came to a close following the state final on October 21-23.

State qualifier Katrina Dy prepares to send the ball back. (Photo by Yearbook Staff)

Senior Katrina Dy battled against Barrington High School’s Caitlin Kavanagh in the first state pairing, winning two of the three matches (4-6, 7-5, 10-7) in the championship round played at Buffalo Grove High School. She then played against New Trier High School’s Julia Ross, a strong competitor who took the win (1-6, 1-6). In the singles consolation series, Dy went up against Huntley High School’s Elaina Hibble before falling to Deerfield High School’s Valentina Bellagamba (3-6, 2-6).

This was Dy’s best season: she said, “I improved a lot in terms of tactics, and I had the most fun this year.”

In fact, the girls’ tennis teams worked to improve their game this season, and Varsity finished with five wins, including victories against Elgin (7-0) on September 9, East Aurora (7-0) on September 17, Streamwood (7-0) on September 21, Bartlett (5-2) on September 28, and Larkin (6-0) on October 4. Overall, the team placed fifth at the District 88 invite. 

Junior Varsity tennis players saw seven wins this season. They dominated against Wheaton Academy (0-7) on August 26, Glenbard North (1-6) on August 31, Elgin (7-0) on September 9, Addison Trail (6-1) on September 13, South Elgin (3-4) on September 14, East Aurora (7-0) on September 16, and Streamwood (7-0) on September 21.

The team held practices every day except Sundays; the training and practices helped the team progress throughout the 12-match season. In speaking with the team, it is obviously tennis is very important to the players. Many players mentioned tennis has shaped their lives and helped make their high school experience. They felt the team was a place where they could grow in the sport, and as people. 

“For me, the highlight of my tennis season was probably being able to make such a great connection with my team and with my doubles partners. The team as a whole really had an amazing bond this year. One specific memory that stands out to me was our match at South Elgin. My partner and I had lost the first set pretty badly, but we still pushed through and managed to win the match in a tiebreaker set! We really couldn’t have done it without our strong bond as resilience as a team,” said senior Swapna George.

Varsity tennis captain and senior Dayanna Mendoza added, “The girls are so lovely, and we have each other’s backs.” 

Senior tennis players Eliana Reyes, Mariana Lopez, Katrina Dy, Jane Osielski, Swapna George, Dayanna Mendoza, and Paloma Aguado. (Photo by Yearbook Staff)

For the senior players, including Dy, Paloma Aguado, George, Mendoza, Mariana Lopez, Jane Osielski, and Eliana Reyes, the season was bittersweet.

Reyes, a 4-year tennis player, expressed, “It was more sad to know that it was probably the first of many lasts.”

Mendoza wished next season’s players the best of luck in the future.

Players emphasized their bond is what makes the team a success. (Photo by Yearbook Staff)

Many of the players look back on this year’s season as a successful one because of the people. It is a place where people can be themselves on and off the court. The girls support and care for each other and it’s clear to see it makes them better players on the court because they trust one another.

The team is very diverse, with players ranging from all skill levels and athletic backgrounds. When interviewing the athletes, many players referred to the team as a place to try something new or expand one’s skills.

JV player and junior Montse Tapia encouraged students who are thinking of joining the team to do so. She explained, “The girls’ tennis [team has] these amazing, kind-hearted people who just make you laugh. Even though you might not know them, you get the opportunity to have new friends.”

She added, “I think the most important thing [about] the girls’ tennis team is the hard work that the girls give to win the matches while also having fun.”

For more information about joining next year’s tennis team, contact Coach Fred Toms at [email protected] or Coach Noah Baker at [email protected]org.