Sports are back: Varsity girls tennis and golf return to competitions


Barrett Wong

Senior Navya Singhai hits a clean backhand slice in a doubles match against Lynbrook. The varsity girls tennis team won two out of their four singles matches and won all three of the doubles matches played, taking the victory with a final score of 5-2.

After more than a year without the thrill of school sports competitions, both the varsity girls tennis team and the varsity girls golf team had their first matches of the season yesterday, welcoming the Eagle spirit we’ve all missed. Despite the challenges both teams have faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the athletes have persisted and continued playing to the best of their ability. 

After their match originally scheduled on Tuesday, February 16, was postponed due to conflicts between parents and the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League earlier this week, the varsity girls tennis team played Lynbrook at home in their opening season matchup and won 5–2. They won two out of their four singles matches and won all three of the doubles matches played.

“I was nervous that I would feel rusty,” senior Maya Atassi said. “But honestly, [my match] turned out pretty well and I felt good.”

The Eagles also had to abide by new COVID-19 restrictions while playing. This included wearing facemasks during their matches and not touching their opponents’ tennis balls or the scoreboard. However, players were able to adapt relatively easily.

“It was a bit more challenging to be more cautious about what objects I was touching. However, for the most part, it wasn’t that big of a nuisance,” Maya said.

Without much difficulty adhering to the safety guidelines, the girls started off their season strong. The players’ positive attitude is shared by head coach Hung Nguyen.

“Considering that this match is the first one [the team] has played in a while, they played really well,” Nguyen said. “Mistakes may have been made here and there, but in general it was good to see the team adapting and becoming comfortable playing in these conditions.”

Although this was a significant win for the team, it’s only the first of many matches to occur throughout the season. Nguyen believes it’s important that the athletes get more opportunities to compete in order to prepare for these future matches and develop good chemistry with each other. 

“Rhythm and tempo are going to be key this season,” Nguyen said. “Frequently playing matches and practicing afterwards will help [the players] be able to gel with one another and feel more at home.”

Off campus at the Sunken Gardens Golf Course, the girls golf team barely lost to Homestead in an incredibly close match with a final score of 200–201.

Although golf is one of the few sports where social distancing is easily manageable, there were a few key alterations made to yesterday’s golf match as well. There were no formalities of shaking hands and signing the opponent’s scorecards. On all golf courses, the holes have been modified: Players no longer need to remove the flag, and the holes are shallower for athletes to be able to pick up the ball.

The golf team also experienced some major changes to this year’s season beyond COVID-19 guidelines. After having a provisional coach for the second half of last year’s season, the team now has a new head coach, Abe Roof. Roof, who runs the Deep Cliff Players Academy Juniors Golf Program, was informed of the job opening by participant of the program and sophomore Grace Cai. 

The team also had to change the location of their practices because golf courses have been busy during the pandemic due to the ability to stay COVID-19 safe. The Eagles were unable to continue practicing at Shoreline. Luckily, Roof is the golf director at the Bayview Golf Club and was able to get the team an opportunity to practice in Milpitas.

“A lot of people are just looking for time to practice.” senior Annika Gaglani said. “Many of us were not practicing as regularly as we usually would, so people are trying to find their game back and work on the parts of the game they need to brush up on.” 

Despite the challenges these athletes were bound to face, Annika has confidence they will be playing to the best of their ability in no time. 

“We only spend maybe 10 minutes at the driving range, so we’re getting a lot of time on the course at every practice,” Annika said. “I think we’re going to live up to our potential pretty quickly.”

Though the first matches of Season 1 had mixed outcomes, both the girls golf and tennis teams are confident that they have a successful season ahead of them and are enthusiastic to be back playing the sports they love. 

The next Season 1 sport to officially begin inter-school competition is the cross country team. The Eagles will be hosting the first SCVAL meet at Los Altos High School tomorrow, with races beginning at 8:45 a.m.