Varsity girls tennis finds success

Sports

With eight returners and seven new players, the KO girls varsity tennis team was well-prepared for their first season back after having their previous season cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With 10 games on their schedule, the team has had a successful season. 

The team is led by Head Coach Ronald Garcia who has been the coach for over a decade at KO. After losing their 2020 season to the pandemic, the team has been working tirelessly to get back into the tennis mentality, practicing five days a week in the field house.

Going into the season, the team had goals both individually and collectively. There was an even amount of returners and newcomers to the team this year, meaning each player being involved and putting forth their best effort was essential for not only the season’s success, but also for the growth of the team. “Our main goal was to develop our younger players and give the seniors a meaningful season.” Coach Garcia said. Making sure the team had a good dynamic was top priority for them, and the team’s upperclassmen, lead by senior Co-captains Sloan Duvall and Shreeya Chalikonda, looked out for the younger players, easing them into this season with their support and experience as varsity players. 

The team started off slow with a 1-2 start, coming up short in hard-fought matches against both Hopkins School and Greenwich Academy. The team bounced back, however, by winning three straight matches overall, and jumped to a record of 4-3. 

A match that shines out above the rest was at Hamden Hall on Wednesday, May 5. The team won 5-2, a triumphant victory for the Wyverns. “We had a nice win against Hamden Hall,” Coach Garceia said. “It was evenly matched, and we got a good victory by playing with passion and enthusiasm.” This win helped boost morale and momentum for the team as they won their next three matches. 

Shreeya Chalikonda stands with Coach Garcia. Photo by David Newman.

However, COVID-19 brought with it new guidelines and restrictions for the team. Players in outdoor sports at KO were allowed to remove their masks for gameplay; however, the majority of the tennis teams played indoors and were required to be masked up at all times. “The most important rule we had to follow was maintaining proper distance and staying masked up,” Coach Garcia said. “Though it might not be the ideal way to play tennis, we are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure everyone’s safety and our ability to play.” 

As the season wraps up, the team honors their seniors and looks to the younger players to step up for next year. “We are so thankful for our seniors and everything they did for the team, but now we look to next season, and focus on improving our game to come out stronger next year,” Coach Garcia said. 

The team wraps up the season with games against Greenwich Country Day School and St. Lukes, hoping to end on a high note. Throughout this season, the KO girls varsity tennis team has undergone hardships and challenges but has ultimately come out successful in the end.