In Depth with the Tennis Team

The tennis team’s season officially ended this Tuesday, and now the players are done for the rest of the year until the fall season. While the players may play friendlies to test how much they have improved or what they need to work on, official tournaments have concluded. 

The spring season is individual-based and solely depends on the player itself, rather than the team as a whole. The spring season contains multiple tournaments scattered throughout the months of March and April. There were JV and varsity tournaments, and a separate tournament for first year players. This semester of tennis was certainly one that contested each player, but they were able to overcome obstacles and face them head first. Whether that meant battling injuries or managing their way through the ongoing pandemic, they gave it their all for the last of the season. 

“I like how we overcame many obstacles together to play in tournaments,” senior Amy Huynh said. “Even if we didn’t do well, we still bonded and liked each other’s company. This indirectly led us to playing better since we were practicing constantly without realizing it.”

During the tournaments, players are split throughout locations around GISD to compete in matches. The boys singles and doubles tend to stay together while the girls singles and doubles and the mixed teams split to different locations. 

“My last tennis season was great!” senior Josef Nguyen said. “Even though we didn’t get to play in [many] tournaments, it was great seeing all of my friends. It’s crazy how much everyone has improved and I couldn’t have been happier.”

Tournaments are played back-to-back, meaning they can go on for a long time if the player keeps winning. Players spend a good amount of time with each other and other players from different schools, watching each other play and supporting each other. There is a positive and supportive aura during tournaments, even if the player is the opponent.

“The long tournament days make it worth it because we create long lasting memories,” junior Delaney Campbell says.

A common thought throughout the players is that even if they know their opponent is better than them, they gain more experience playing against them, which can help improve their own skills.

“I liked how I got the opportunity to go out and play this season,” senior Brian Nguyen said. “I’m really just taking the experience and memories I had with my friends this year. There were some days where I performed exceptionally well, [but] others, not so much. I believe I have improved my tennis game this year compared to the other years.”

Boys singles and doubles player senior Jonathan Portillo added, “My favorite part of this season was getting to be with my friends and cheering each other on during our matches. Getting food after the games was fun, making memories and talking over how we think we did and what we can do better next time. I wasn’t thrilled with how my season ended but nonetheless I’m happy I got to spend these last three years in Lakeview tennis.”

The COVID-19 pandemic changed a lot of different aspects of tennis. Practices during class were no longer filled with many players, so most players did not get to practice with some of the teammates they wanted to. While some players were able to use the pandemic to their advantage, some struggled with the sudden cancellation of sports, but still supported their teammates.

“To be honest, before the whole COVID [pandemic], I was at my peak at tennis, but it kinda went downhill when it hit,” senior Marc Lumanlan said. “So I knew my tennis career was done, but being there just to watch my friends, screaming and supporting them, was so exciting. I would say I was satisfied and enjoyed this season.”

On the other hand, the pandemic gave them some players a lot of time to unwind and focus on themselves.

“This tennis season was very difficult with the amount of change due to COVID, but that became an experience for me to change, mentally and physically, to better myself,” junior Alexander Heng said. “I enjoyed this year because of all the people supporting me and Kevin [Luong] , my doubles partner.”

The end of the season brings on a period of reflection of how they played and what they will miss most. Players evaluate their highs and lows, and what they are most proud of like any other athlete. That goes the same for Lakeview’s star tennis player, Benjamin Rincon, who has been on the tennis team since he was a freshman and just finished his senior year. He suffered a sprained ankle during a warm-up match, but did not want that to keep him from finishing off his last tournament.

“Looking back on the spring season, it started well for me,” Rincon said. “I was winning tournaments, but during districts, I was forced to play on a sprained ankle. I lost in the second round in a super tie-breaker, but I wasn’t mad at it because I took him to the max score on [a] sprained ankle. Coming into high school, I wanted to leave a mark at Lakeview, and I believe I did that by winning tournaments.”

Some of the competitive underclassmen have also reflected on their performance and now know what to work on once the fall season comes around. 

“I performed alright, but I could’ve played better,” junior Leo Messersmith said. “I definitely played better as the season went on, so I’ll just practice more and be ready for the fall and spring season next year.”

When playing doubles or mixed doubles, both partners have to be vocal on the court and know how their partner plays in order to develop good chemistry. The #1 girls singles player, junior Delaney Campbell, switched from primarily playing singles to mixed doubles with senior Josef Nguyen.

“This year I enjoyed playing with my mixed partner, Josef, because it was his last season,” Campbell said. “We have played together since my freshman year, and I’ve really enjoyed all of the memories. This season we only had three tournaments and ended up winning two consolation brackets. At districts, we lost to Wylie’s #1 mixed team, and they ended up making it to regionals. Even though we didn’t make it, we performed better than all of the other mixed teams, besides Wylie, by the scoreboard. I will really miss playing with him and have had so much fun over the years.”

First year players do not usually play often because of the limited spots open for a tournament. However, some of them were able to play and gain experience in a few tournaments because of the amount of JV tournaments played. Tennis provided a break for players who were seeking an escape from COVID.

“This spring season I really had fun since it was the first time I ever played a real tennis match,” sophomore Victor Albuquerque de Melo said. “I lost, but it made me realize the feeling of [being competitive], so I practiced and tried as hard as I could. I couldn’t get there this time around, but I will just try harder, so that next time I am able to call myself the winner. The best part of [playing was] that I was truly having fun doing so. I needed something to spend my energy on since all this COVID-mess started.”

The tennis team relied heavily on the seniors and some key players that competed regularly will not be there next year. While this may pose a struggle at the beginning of the fall season, as they try to identify the correct ranks for each player, it will open an opportunity for the underclassmen to step up and take a hold of the throne. The juniors on the tennis team bring a lot of talent that have shined throughout this year and their previous years. They have only gotten better because of the added experience of playing with older, more strategic players, so their senior year should be good for them. However, there is no doubt that the underclassmen will miss the seniors.

“Farewell to all of the seniors this year!” Heng said. “I wish that we could’ve made more memories.”