Despite all of the ups and downs, Malden High School’s Girls Tennis team had an overall formidable season this year. New heach coach, Cheryl Camassa, led the girls to an impressive first season in the Northeastern Conference (NEC).
For the past few years, all sports teams at Malden High have been playing in the Greater Boston League (GBL), which included Medford, Everett, Somerville as well as Malden High. This season was the team’s first season in a new conference, the NEC. Even though the girls ended the 2017 spring season with only four wins, this change in conference raised the bar of competition to a higher level for the team. However, by the end of the season, they got accustomed to the new competition and continued to work on certain things to make sure that they are prepared for next season.
According to the team, this season was really fun. Nikita Puri, a sophomore on the varsity team, says that she felt like the season was great and felt really welcomed on the team.
Even though the team didn’t produce as many wins as they would have liked, the season was still phenomenal because “it went better than [Puri’s] expectations.” The girls feel like they grew significantly as tennis players this season. Puri stated that “some of the girls are really good and getting to practice with them made [her] a better player”. She continued to say that she’s “always been a competition driven person, and [was] really set on wanting to do better every day not just for [herself] but also for the team.” The season might’ve contained losses, but the girls were looking on improving their game and skills, not just winning every single match.
The losses have taught the girls that “you can’t always have the victory right under the belt, you have to work extra hard for it which [they] did.” They don’t feel bad about losing a few games, because they know that they’ve given it their all and put all their effort into it. They have learned the mindset that if you win, you win; if you lose, you lose.
She talks about how “the games have been a lesson and an experience that have made [her] a better player physically and morally, because [they have taught her that she has] to be a competitive player”. She says that “you have to have the clear mindset in which you know your goal and you fight for it until the end. She “truly believe[s] that towards the end of the season, [she] was able to become that, which is an indication of how much [she’s] grown through the season.”
Personal goals Puri had for this season included becoming a more strategic player, noticing what the players have accomplished and what they have to improve on. For example, Puri has become “smarter about where to hit the ball and how to make [her] opponent run more to get it.” She’s also learned how to hit the ball more powerfully. Puri noticed that her serve isn’t the best, and that is something she can improve on.
The team’s overall goal this season was to win as many games as possible. Although they didn’t win a lot, they believe that each and every single one of them got their personal goals met. Therefore, there is a growth for each player, which is a growth for the whole team.
They’ve all mostly achieved their wins mostly by getting to know one another and by getting to play with one another. Puri talks about how “in the end, it’s always been about having fun on the court.”
Most of the games the team has played this season were very close ones. To win a whole game, the team has to win at least three out of five matches. Even in the matches they lost, it was as close as 2-3. The one difference cost the team a whole game. “Although it can be bitter to lose, [they] all realize that it’s a learning experience and [they] can only get better from it.
This season, the whole team was really good at helping and supporting one another. They are all very good at motivating each other, which is something that can make or break a team.
Next season, Puri believes that they should all have more rigorous practices. She says that they will “all going to be better players only if [they’re] pushed to [their] limits. [They] should work harder and train harder because achieving goals doesn’t come easily. Each team member needs to learn how to absolutely push themselves and work very hard.”
The girls tennis team had a good season despite the amount of ups and downs, and will hopefully continue that with even more wins next season.