First girls tennis team dominates in practice and on the court
he inaugural season of the girls tennis team started off smoothly with a 4-1 win against Drew School on Sept. 4. Two days later, they secured a 6-1 win against Mercy Burlingame. Their strong opening combined with their freshness as a team has proved the team as a force to be reckoned with.
This is the first year that the Upper School has had a girls tennis team; previously, any girls that wanted to play for the school would train with the boys team and would compete as alternates in the spring sports season. Now, after interest from parents and the athletics team, girls who want to play tennis have a team of their own.
“It’s going really, really well,” said Chris Wade, Director of Athletics. “I think there’s some really good energy around the sport.”
Lead by head coach Coltrane Hunt, who teaches mathematics at the Upper School, and assistant coach Jennifer Perry, who works as a teacher in the WRC and as a writing teacher in the middle school, the team has 19 players from three different grades. The tennis team is currently in the West Bay Athletic League.
The addition of a girls team has brought support and interest from multiple grades. Mia Garcia ‘23, who’s been playing recreationally and with friends for the past four years and says she’s an intermediate-level player, said that the addition of a girls tennis team drew her to Nueva.
“I remember that was one of the reasons I wanted to come here,” Garcia said.
For Eleanor Monroe ‘21, the option of the new team pushed her to join. After playing
It has the advantage of playing with people that I know are going to be respectful and honest. It just feels like I’m hanging out with my friends.
competitively in middle school but stopping going into high school, the team provided her an opportunity to rejoin the sport.
“I wasn’t aware that there was a possibility that there could be a team,” said Monroe, who describes herself as an advanced player. “I knew that we could practice with the boys team but if I wasn’t going to be able to play matches I wasn’t really interested. But when the idea was brought up for this fall, that’s when I started really wanting to be involved.”
The team boasts players from the freshmen, sophomore and junior classes and a wide range of playing experience. Garcia said she enjoys being on a team with multiple grades as it has given her opportunities to gain experience as a tennis player.
Mel Cowan ‘22 agrees. Cowan has been playing tennis on and off since age 3 and finds playing with classmates an enjoyable experience.
Going into the first two games against Drew School and Mercy Burlingame, thoughts were hopeful and supportive. Cowan said that after each scored point while playing doubles with freshman Alexa Wingate against Drew, they high fived as a way to support each other. After the games, many were surprised at the results.
“It was a very good feeling,” Garcia said about the game against Mercy. “I was very excited because it was the first match that I played for Nueva. It made me feel very proud about myself and that I was capable.”
But here’s still lots to work on.
With the team this year, they’ve been really responsive. They’ve taken a lot of pride in the team, which I’ve appreciated. It’s that mentality that we’re able to not just play for each other, but play with purpose.
Hunt, who has played tennis for the past 24 years and trained under the previous Stanford Men’s tennis coach Dick Gould, said the team is focused on consistency, communication, and community and has a goal to improve. The team trains three times a week at the Broadway Tennis Bay Club, working on skills to improve their game.
“With the team this year, they’ve been really responsive,” Hunt said. “They’ve taken a lot of pride in the team, which I’ve appreciated. It’s that mentality that we’re able to not just play for each other, but play with purpose.”
Perry, who’s played for 10 years and initially coached at the Middle School, emphasizes communication skills for the players.
“I would like our communication skills to be so strong,” Perry said, “that even if you’ve never had a chance to play with someone before, you’re on a doubles court with them, and you’re ready to go.”
Going into the future, Perry hopes to foster an enjoyment of the game for all players.
“Ideally our students fall even more in love with the sport and so they’re playing a lot between now and next year,” Perry said. “For the love of the game.”
Their next match is scheduled for October 2 against Mercy San Francisco.
Written by Isabel C.