After a rollercoaster season ending with a 4-6 record and an intensifying rivalry with San Mateo, the girls tennis team is looking to the Peninsula Athletic League individual championships for another opportunity to finish strong.
Starting November 1 at San Mateo High School, the team will send PALS veteran junior Halle Martinucci and freshman Maddie Wachhorst to compete in the singles tournament while juniors Gabby Alvira and Alyson Resnik will be representing Burlingame in the doubles tournament.
“This season hasn’t been our best,” Alvira says of the team’s record. A significant factor contributing to the underwhelming result of the season is the number of core players that graduated last year. The senior players left ten spots open on varsity, resulting in imbalanced levels of experience on the team. Junior and senior players were also affected by a shift in team dynamics.
“I had to change up my strategy and adjust to playing differently,” says Resnik. She was faced with the challenge of playing singles games when most of her experience had been with doubles games.
“We had to play extra hard to try to get to the level of our team from last year… but we tried to go into each match with a positive attitude, strategized against our opponents, and played our hardest.” Routine practices and overall focus on endurance as a team helped the Panthers fight through narrow defeats and draining triumphs.
Another unexpected speed bump was the staggering improvement of Burlingame nemesis San Mateo High. Although the Panthers did not overcome their biggest Competitors, SMHS and Menlo-Atherton, their final game of the season on October 25 was seen as a learning experience, with BHS playing more efficiently to the Bearcats’ few weaknesses. In addition to their sweeping wins against Half Moon Bay and Woodside, the Panthers have proved that they are more than ready to move forward as a team and progress as individual varsity players.
Resnik, who will be co-captain as a senior, has stated that she and nine other juniors on the team are already taking up leadership roles in anticipation of their last year on the team.
Although the season did not flow as smoothly as they would have liked, Alvira maintains that “next season, almost all of the varsity team will be returning and some skilled upcoming freshman are expected to join so we will be much stronger next year.”
Adjusting to such a large change in net experience of the team was a roadblock in the way of PALS for the team as a whole, but the upcoming three-day tournament is going to be a refreshing end to the season.