The Girl’s Varsity Tennis Team; Seniors: Maya Urata, Eliana Hanna, Natalie Son, Nicole Sorensen, Sophia Razavi, and Muru Li; Juniors: Kylie Hwang, Amanda Grabel, Tsehay Driscoll, Alison Woo, Riley Thornburgh, Chia Matuska; Sophomore(s): Maren Urata; Freshmen: Lauren Kim (Image Courtesy of Coach Will)
Having achieved incredible accomplishments in yet another memorable season, the Girl’s Varsity Tennis team emerges as the CIF Runner-Up. Advancing to the finals was no easy feat for the team, but they managed to overcome and outperform their competition.
The first match of the CIF Championships took place at Great Oak High School where the team won 11-7. Then the team received a score of 10-8 against Martin Luther King High School before winning the quarterfinals against Mater Dei High School after another score of 11-7. After reflecting on beating Laguna Beach High School in the semifinals, Coach William Moravec observed, “[It] was an incredible match. What felt really good about it [is that] a lot of times in sports, the star athletes will [usually] lead the way, [but in] a true team, you want everybody to contribute, so that was great. That was really such a great team effort.”
The final match up stood as the final barrier between the team and victory. Regarding the finals, Moravec noted, “We [had] already lost to San Marino twice so we had nothing to lose. It was two days after the Laguna Beach victory so everybody was still mostly tired from the semifinals match but I was proud of everyone because everybody fought tooth and nail all the way, it came down to the very last match again before San Marino beat us.”
Moravec remarked that this path to victory wasn’t an easy one. Coordinating all of the team members to play during their limited match time was especially difficult. In addition, the amount of school the students were missing was also of concern. The matches happened every other day and started at 2:00 PM, but fortunately the school was willing to give the support the student athletes needed to work around that time constraint, from the principal to the Athletic Director to the teachers.
After advancing past the finals, the CIF individual championships took place. Teammates Eliana Hanna (12) and Tsehay Driscoll (11) played doubles together and came out victors of the CIF doubles final.
According to Coach Moravec, this made the two the “best doubles team of all of Southern California high schools, so that was fantastic. Tsehay and Eliana were pretty great, pretty dominant. They won 7 matches and didn’t lose a game until the third round.” In fact, because the duo were performing well throughout the competition, one could “really watch the beauty of their tennis- when tennis is played at the higher level, it’s very artistic and athletic and fun to watch, especially if the one you are rooting for is winning.”
On the topic of the seniors leaving, Coach Moravec acknowledged, “We’re still going to be in Division 1 next year [due to the way CIF operates but] it’s going to be tricky because we [will lose awesome players like] Maya Urata and Eliana Hanna, and we don’t replace those types of players. We had a lot of returning players and I’m looking forward to them, hopefully they’ll improve their games and it’ll be their turn to shine next year.”
The Spartan also asked a few members of the team on their reflection of the season.
For all star player and co-captain Eliana Hanna (12), “This year has been extremely special for me and all the other girls on the team. It’s super rare to have such a strong line up like we had this year so everyone was really excited going into CIF…We all got to spend so much valuable time together. Even though we didn’t get the outcome we hoped for in the end, all of our team members gave all they had and that’s all we could ask for. I think we ended this year on a very strong note and it definitely made my senior year super special.”
Tsehay Driscoll (11), the other half of the doubles team that won the CIF doubles championship, explained that, “Playing tennis with the team this year was super amazing. I have a lot of great memories that I’ll cherish with me from cheering on Natalie and Riley in the semis to waiting for our bus for 3 hours. I think the team really helped me grow as a team player. I wish all the seniors the best with their futures.”
Lauren Kim (9) relayed that, “It was such a great experience playing for both JV and Varsity. It was exciting to watch the ranked varsity players [play] and [it] encouraged me to want to get better. I formed strong bonds and friendships with teammates on both squads and made lasting memories this year. This was such a successful season for LCHS tennis. JV went undefeated league champs and Varsity was runner-up in CIF. This is going to be a hard year to beat, but I’m looking forward to getting better and building stronger friendships with my teammates the next 3 years. GO SPARTANS!!!”